Calgary software company Absorb acquired for $500M US by private equity firm

A Calgary company that makes cloud-based learning and performance management software has been acquired in a $500-million US deal. 

U.S. private equity firm Welsh, Carson, Anderson and Stowe is acquiring Absorb, the companies announced Tuesday.

Absorb, which was founded in 2002, is headquartered in Calgary’s Telus Sky building with offices in London, Dublin, Shanghai, Sydney, Boston and Tampa. It provides learning management system software to 23 million users across more than 1,400 clients in 34 countries.

CEO Mike Owens said the deal affirms that Calgary — and Canada — are great places to grow a tech company.

“We have amazing talent. We have a fantastic living standard across the country. And you can find great quality talent here that is globally competitive. So emerging on the global marketplace as a place to develop and grow fast software companies, there’s no better place than Canada,” he said.

This year, the company launched Absorb Intelligence — a set of artificial intelligence tools aimed at enriching online learning. The company said the deal will help create at least 100 new jobs in Calgary and expand operations globally.

Owens said while the recognition is great, he’s even more excited about how this news can inspire others. 

“The fact that we get to do more of this tomorrow and faster and bring success stories in a time when we all need more success stories, and truly help diversify the economy, that makes everyone feel great. They’re participating in something that uplifts the city, the province, and helps with the national economy,” he said. 

“Every time that there is this scale of investment and recognition … we bring more investment opportunities for other companies.”

The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of this year. 

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