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Smartforce announce acquisition of Centra called off


In a shock retreat from their announcement only a few months ago, e-learning company SmartForce has announced that the planned acquisition of software provider Centra will not now go ahead.

In January it was announced that the two companies would be joining together as SmartForce acquired Centra in the wake of increased revenues up 13 per cent from the last quarter of 2001. Although billed as an acquisition at the time, announcements relating to the SmartForce/Centra relationship released this week are referring to it as a merger rather than an acquisition. SmartForce had anticipated that the acquisition of Centra would be completed during the second quarter of 2002 - it will now shoulder additional costs associated with terminating the agreement. The announcement that the now-merger has been cancelled is reported to be a mutual agreement between both parties - in the last few days, both companies reported they expected to record shortfalls in revenue for the first quarter of 2002 substantially lower than original targets suggested.

In a press release, Greg Priest, SmartForce's chairman and CEO, said: "We are disappointed with our results for the quarter. This is a very difficult climate for enterprise software companies generally, and e-Learning companies in particular, and our close rates in the first quarter were substantially below our expectations. That said, there is substantial customer interest in SmartForce's e-Learning offerings. Our pipeline of business that our sales force has identified and is pursuing today has more than doubled since the end of last year."

SmartForce Global Programmes Manager Laura Overton, who had previously spoken to TrainingZONE about the company's plan earlier this year, told TrainingZONE yesterday that the two companies would continue to work together on reseller and marketing projects as the companies continued to share much of their outlook and aims.


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