SmartForce to buy Centra in $284 mln stock deal

January 17, 2002

SmartForce, a learning solutions product provider, said Wednesday it agreed to buy Centra Software Inc. in a stock deal valued at $284 million.

Under the agreement, Centra shareholders will receive 0.425 SmartForce shares for each Centra share, valuing the deal at about $284 million based on Tuesday’s closing price of SmartForce American depositary shares.

The boards of both companies have approved the deal, which is also subject to various closing conditions and shareholder and regulatory approval.

Redwood City, California-based SmartForce expects the deal to close in the second quarter and that it will be 1 cent accretive to earnings per share in the second half of the year.

SmartForce also expects the deal to be accretive to earnings in 2003 and has established a 2003 pre-amortization earnings pershare target for the combined business of $1.05, up from a previous target of $1.

SmartForce expects to take a “substantial,” but yet to be determined, one-time charge in the second quarter in connection with the deal.

“This combination is truly a watershed event for the e-Learning industry,” said SmartForce chief executive Greg Priest. “Critical mass and scale have become increasingly important as the market’s requirements have matured and new market entrants have emerged.”