Global Knowledge buying Canadian training company

Staff writerAugust 11, 2009 

Corporate tech-training company Global Knowledge has agreed to purchase the operations of the largest corporate training company in Canada, financially ailing Nexient Learning.

In an e-mail message to Global Knowledge employees, CEO Brian Branson wrote that the acquisition will combine the "talent and resources of both organizations."

The deal is still being finalized. A spokeswoman for Global Knowledge said the Cary-based company would have no comment until the deal was completed and publicly announced. Branson's e-mail did not disclose the terms of the deal.

Nexient, which generated $55.2 million in revenue last year, provided courses to more than 100,000 trainees at 12 training sites scattered across Canada, Branson wrote. Nexient recently filed for protection from creditors under Canada's Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act.

"In Canada, Global Knowledge is the market leader for Cisco training while Nexient is the market leader for Microsoft and business skills training," Branson wrote. "The combination of two such complementary businesses will allow us to offer our combined customer base a more robust set of products and services."

Global Knowledge, which is owned by New York investment firm Welsh, Carson and Stowe, generated more than $275 million in revenue last year.

The company provides information technology and business training at its own centers, on customers' sites and over the Internet. It operates in 16 countries and partners with leading technology companies such as Cisco, Microsoft and VMware to provide certified training in their products.

Global Knowledge's work force was reduced to slightly fewer than 1,200 employees, including 307 in Cary, in the spring after the company laid off about 70 people to cut costs.

Branson said at the time that the company's revenue actually rose slightly in the first quarter, but that leading indicators such as requests for proposals and price quotes and sales orders for future costs were soft. He also projected that the cost-cutting would enable the company to prosper when the economy turned around, including gaining market share from weaker competitors likely to be weeded out by the recession.

Nexient filed for protection from creditors at the end of June. The publicly traded company lost $10.8 million in the first quarter, which it attributed to the recession. The company also lost $9.1 million in 2008 and $14.6 million in 2007.

Last month Nexient obtained court approval to sell the company's assets.

Douglas Lawson, chief financial officer at Nexient, could not be reached for comment.

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