In a move that further cements its reputation and intention to expand in one of the key global markets for elearning, Learning Technologies Group recently announced the completion of its acquisition of workforce development experts GP Strategies. The completion marks the end of an extended period of regulatory compliance checks that pave the way for an eye-opening move for the London-based tech company.
Speaking to Learning News, CEO Jonathan Satchell said of the transaction that it “…represents a transformational leap for our business. It creates a combination of award-winning technology, leading talent development skills and a global delivery capability.”
It’s a clear statement of intent that builds on their global portfolio of businesses, adding to a slate that already includes PeopleFluent, Bridge and Leo Learning. GP Strategies will add consultancy, coaching, online courses, compliance training, and digital transformation services to the global Learning Technologies Group offering.
LTG have long been in the acquisition game, with Satchell one of the shrewdest players. Interestingly, the majority of LTG’s portfolio eschews the HR space, historically a broader market than learning and development. This suggests companies such as Kineo are the more natural competitors of LTG and leaves them and other rivals with work to do to compete in one of the most lucrative learning markets on the planet.
Satchell continues: “As an enlarged business, we will be well placed to enable a broadened array of corporate clients to recruit, train, motivate and retain their people in a world of increasing complexity and a rapidly changing relationship between talent and the workplace.”
So, what does it do for the dynamics of the market, the remaining players within it, and last but not certainly not least, the customer? Kate Graham, Head of Content Labs and Insight here at UNLEASH, has thoughts:
“The Group is services-led, so it’s their bread and butter. It definitely strengthens that part of their business, and their US presence too, of course. But I’d be interested to see what it means for their clients. Put yourself in their shoes for a second: will users of Bridge’s platform have priority access to the GP Strategies consultants, for example?”
It’s a good question, and at this point it looks like the companies within the portfolio will keep their offerings distinct, indicating that the play is more for market expansion, increasing their global footprint. With around two thirds of the Group’s revenue coming from software licenses, it’s clear this purchase isn’t simply about the bottom line – it’s about expertise and human capital. (Their new business has four times the number of staff of its new parent company, in fact.)
But, with deep vertical experience in industries such as automotive, finance, energy, defense, and tech, GP Strategies not only brings with it the services, brand, staff and knowledge capital of an established US personnel business, it also – rather importantly – adds a raft of Blue Chip clients and connections to the LTG database.
After an extended period of market instability, some things remain certain. Learning Technologies Group’s appetite for expansion is one such certainty. All eyes will be on where Satchell and the board are looking next.