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Skillsoft to pay $525M for learning platform Codecademy

Codecademy, a software development learning platform with 40 million users worldwide, is being acquired by Skillsoft, a learning platform focused on the corporate market.

Skillsoft is buying Codecademy for $525 million, bringing together two digital learning platforms with similar goals but different customer bases.

Codecademy primarily focuses on individuals who sign up for free and paid plans to improve their technical skills. Skillsoft is aimed at the corporate learning platform market. Despite that difference, Codecademy is "closely adjacent" to Skillsoft's learning platform, Skillsoft officials said during a call Wednesday with financial analysts to discuss the agreement.

Codecademy will significantly expand Skillsoft's capabilities in the high-growth tech and dev segment.
Jeffrey TarrCEO, Skillsoft

Codecademy's learning platform "will significantly expand Skillsoft's capabilities in the high-growth tech and [development] segment," said Jeffrey Tarr, CEO of Skillsoft, during the call. "Importantly, its [Codecademy's] platform has the capability to rapidly scale to support new programming languages and additional technical skills as the needs of the workforce evolve."

The deal is expected to close in the first half of next year.

Codecademy, founded 10 years ago and based in New York, is a learning platform for software development skills. It provides courses on Python, JavaScript, CSS, HTML, data science, machine learning, web design, cybersecurity and many others. 

Boston-based Skillsoft's enterprise-focused catalog includes training in business skills, such as management, sales, marketing and digital transformation; technology skills, such as information security, cloud platforms and stack development; and industry-specific training. Its coursework includes training by video and audiobook instruction, live events, through coaching and other programs

Codecademy has about 40 million registered users worldwide, and Skillsoft has more than 46 million, Skillsoft officials said on the call with financial analysts.

Skillsoft, founded in 1998, plans to make Codecademy offerings available to its enterprise customers. Its customer base includes 75% of the largest global 1,000 firms, company officials stated.

Hottest part of market

The Codecademy acquisition "gives Skillsoft the capability to bolster the hottest part of the market for technical skills," said Ray Wang, an industry analyst at Constellation Research. "While Codecademy catered to individuals, the Skillsoft platform reaches the B2B corporate market very well."

Zach Sims, co-founder and CEO of Codecademy, will join Skillsoft as part of its executive team, reporting to Tarr. 

In response to questions from SearchHRSoftware about Codecademy's future under Skillsoft, a spokeswoman said in a written statement that "everything about the Codecademy platform and experience will remain the same from now until close. Longer term, with greater resources and a bigger platform through the team at Skillsoft, we look forward to delivering even more products, curriculum and learning experiences to Codecademy learners."

As of now, there are no plans to change Codecademy's free product offerings, the firm said. 

Questions remain as to whether the platforms will remain separate. "Today's announcement is the first step in Skillsoft and Codecademy joining forces. At this time, we're continuing to operate business as usual," the firm said.

Patrick Thibodeau covers HCM and ERP technologies for TechTarget. He's worked for more than two decades as an enterprise IT reporter.

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