Raleigh, NC February 15, 2017 – VitalSource Technologies LLC, Ingram Content Group's global leader in digital education content delivery, today announced that it has entered into a Letter of Intent to acquire Verba Software, Inc., a San Francisco-based company dedicated to using technology to support campus bookstores and help students save money on course materials.
"Our planned acquisition of Verba reinforces Ingram's and VitalSource's commitment to the future of higher education," said Shawn Morin, CEO and President, Ingram Content Group. "Continuing to make education more affordable and more accessible inspires us and drives our work at VitalSource. We admire and respect what Verba has built and the impact their innovation has had on education."
Verba was founded in 2008 by Jared Pearlman, Ryan Petersen and Michael Ragalie to tackle textbook affordability through radical transparency by collaborating with independent campus stores. The proposed acquisition of Verba will add to VitalSource's offerings in inclusive access, analytics, and white-label ecommerce while bringing strengths in adoptions management and pricing transparency.
"We are excited about what the Verba team brings to the table in terms of people, ideas and technology. We plan to deepen our existing integration with Verba Connect, their inclusive-access platform, to provide institutions and college stores more options and opportunities to help students and faculty," said VitalSource COO Pep Carrera. "Students will save money, institutions will ensure students have learning materials on the first day of class, and stores will be at the center of the experience."
VitalSource currently powers inclusive-access programs at 1,250 higher education institutions worldwide and has existing integrations with Verba solutions at a number of those schools.
"VitalSource helped form the foundation for the All Access program here at Auburn," said Rusty Weldon, Auburn University Bookstore. "They worked hand-in-hand with our faculty and the publisher, showing us their technology and proving that there was no one better equipped to make this project happen. So much was at stake for our first inclusive project, VitalSource was committed to making it work, down to the last detail."
This is the type of campus store collaboration Carrera and Petersen, Verba's CEO, are looking to grow through this acquisition.
"Joining VitalSource will accelerate our ability to serve the independent store community," said Petersen. "With the tighter integration and greater resources offered by VitalSource, we can keep building better tools for stores and grow as the definitive leader in inclusive-access solutions. College stores, faculty, students and publishers – the entire ecosystem – benefit from this planned acquisition."
Following a successful transaction, Verba will become part of a rapidly growing and transforming global company, Ingram Content Group, which has more than 3,400 associates across the globe and has a rich legacy of 40 years of commitment to the college store market. Ingram's VitalSource is focused on providing digital learning solutions and courseware. VitalSource currently has locations in Raleigh, NC; La Vergne, TN; Boston, MA; Scoresby, Australia; and Milton Keynes, United Kingdom.
"Following the planned acquisition, VitalSource would have a new presence in San Francisco and plans to keep the current Verba office open," said Carrera. "As part of our expanded commitment to the independent college store, our plans will include an acceleration of Verba's product roadmap that will entail growth in the San Francisco-based team."
VitalSource and Verba will be discussing the planned acquisition at the Independent College Bookstore Association meeting in Las Vegas, February 15-17.
"We believe the campus store is best positioned to manage digital content delivery for their institution and look forward to showing the continued commitment and innovation an organization with the size and legacy of VitalSource can bring to college stores," said Carrera.
VitalSource's acquisition of Verba is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to be complete in Q1 of this year.
VitalSource Technologies LLC, part of Ingram Content Group LLC, is improving the learning experience by making it easier to create and deliver effective and affordable content. The preferred choice among educational institutions and companies for digital learning materials, VitalSource helps over 1,000 educational content providers create and deliver seamless interactive learning experiences through its exclusive Bookshelf platform to millions of learners at 7,000 institutions. Bookshelf users opened more than 18 million digital textbooks last year and read more than 2.4 billion pages. Follow VitalSource on Twitter at @VitalSource.
Founded in 2008, Verba is a San Francisco-based company that works with colleges and universities to reduce the cost of course materials by elevating transparency and access. Verba offers web-based tools for faculty to select course materials, bookstores to acquire low-cost learning materials and for students to easily compare prices and gain on-time access. Verba's Inclusive Access management tools, including Verba Connect, leverage Verba's proprietary pricing analysis model to alleviate administrative manual processes and ensure every student has digital access to course materials at a low price on the first day of classes. Verba works with more than 350 institutions of varying sizes to reach over 3.1 million students each term.