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July 27, 2021

Utah tech unicorn Pluralsight acquired by investment firm in $3.5B deal

FARMINGTON — Utah-based tech company Pluralsight has been acquired by Vista Equity Partners in a $3.5 billion deal, the company announced on Sunday.

Pluralsight, an online tech education company, is known as one of the state’s rare tech unicorns reaching $1 billion valuation before going public. Vista is a global investment firm that focuses on “enterprise software, data and technology-enabled businesses,” according to a news release.

Pluralsight CEO and co-founder Aaron Skonnard said the partnership will allow the platform to have a wider reach and continue innovating the courses and skills taught in its online courses often used by companies for IT teams.

“We are relentlessly focused on helping enterprises improve and optimize their technology workforce and providing the most effective path to skills transformation for their technology teams,” Skonnard said in a statement. “The global Vista ecosystem of leading enterprise software companies provides significant resources and institutional knowledge that will open doors and help fuel our growth. We’re thrilled that we will be able to leverage Vista’s expertise to further strengthen our market leading position.”

Vista will acquire all remaining shares of the company’s stock at $20.26 per share, a premium price for Pluralsight. The shares were bought for about 25% above the company’s average closing stock price for the 30 trading days before the agreement.

The sale is expected to close sometime next year, at which point Pluralsight will no longer be in the public market and will instead become a private company once again.

The company is also under a voting agreement with certain shareholders, which allowed those shareholders to agree to vote all of their Pluralsight shares in support of the sale. The Silicon Slopes company first went public in 2018 with an offering of $350 million.

“Pluralsight and Vista share the belief that software is key to unlocking opportunity and progress,” said Adrian Alonso, managing director at Vista. “We are impressed by the outstanding business that Pluralsight has already built and look forward to partnering with the management team to enable the company’s next phase of growth and further their mission to democratize technology skills.”

In an age where the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many to move operations online, Vista believes trends like high demand for skilled software engineers will continue to eclipse the supply — something they hope Pluralsight can help address with its thousands of online courses.

“We have seen firsthand that the demand for skilled software engineers continues to outstrip supply, and we expect this trend to persist as we move into a hybrid online-offline world across all industries and interactions, with business leaders recognizing that technological innovation is critical to business success,” Monti Saroya, co-head of the Vista Flagship Fund and senior managing director at Vista, said in a statement. “Through its platform, Pluralsight enables these leaders to improve productivity and provide career pathing opportunities across their IT workforces.”

Lauren Bennett

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