WASHINGTON -- Speaking to reporters during a media event at the company's new headquarters, Blackboard CEO Jay Bhatt on Wednesday addressed the rumors that the company is exploring a sale that could value it at around $3 billion. The rumor surfaced in July after a report from Reuters. Bhatt's comments won't put an end to the rumors, however; his tone was noncommittal, though he appeared to downplay the significance of being acquired.
"Look, we’re private equity owned," Bhatt said, adding that Blackboard's current owners, Providence Equity Partners, are "really sympathetic" to the company's cause. "But they are a private-equity investor, and they are looking for a return. Are we up for sale? Not necessarily. Are we always up for sale? Probably. Just like every other company in the public market is up for sale. Every time somebody buys a share of stock, they’re up for sale."
Bhatt continued by saying the rumors are part of the "dynamics" of being a privately held company, and that he personally tries not to focus on them.
"We will be sold at some point," Bhatt said. "We’ll either be sold to the public market and be a public company like we were for 10 years, or we’ll be sold to another private investor. Something will happen so our investors can monetize, but it won’t change the strategy or the focus of our company."