Melbourne-based startup to be acquired by US giant Pluralsight

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A tech workforce development firm, Pluralsight, Inc. announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Australia-based leading cloud skills development platform, A Cloud Guru (AGC). Subject to customary closing conditions, the Pluralsight-A Cloud Guru acquisition deal is expected to be later in 2021. AGC, a Melbourne-based online training startup co-founded by two brothers, Sam Kroonenburg and Ryan Kroonenburg, has been acquired by Pluralsight in what could be one of the biggest tech deals Australia has ever seen. 

Though the terms of the deal have not been revealed by AGC or Pluralsight, the amount paid to AGC could be the largest amount paid for an Aussie tech company, according to the Australian Financial Review.

Pluralsight, Inc. acquires A Cloud Guru

The acquisition deal of acquiring A Cloud Guru (which hasn’t officially closed yet) has been funded in part by Vista Equity Partners, which acquired Pluralsight towards the end of 2020 for US$3.5 billion, taking it private.

Willian Blair & Company was the exclusive financial advisor to Vista and Pluralsight in the acquisition of A Cloud Guru. Kirkland and Ellis served as legal counsel for the deal. Meanwhile, AGC’s exclusive financial adviser was JPMorgan Securities with Latham & Watkins serving as its legal counsel.

Through this deal, Pluralsight will be able to provide learners with the deepest, most-effective hands-on learning tools and solutions to drive business cloud maturity and cloud certifications.

The cloud computing industry is continuously experiencing exponential growth worldwide and is accelerating the need for more cloud skill development. Research shows that the majority of IT decision makers think that the cloud skills shortage is their #1 challenge. By merging AGC’s power of their leading certification courses along with hands-on learning experiences, the two organizations will be better positioned to meet and exceed the demand for cloud skill development.

In a statement, Chief Executive Officer of Pluralsight Aaron Skonnard said that  the products of A Cloud Guru will fit well alongside Pluralsight’s own tech training programs. His statement added:

“Technology is the #1 differentiator for all businesses. The tech skills of a team is what determines success or failure. Nowhere is that more apparent than with cloud technologies. In order to meet the needs of our customers and support their cloud transformations, Pluralsight is determined to deliver the most comprehensive solution for driving cloud maturity at scale. With the acquisition of A Cloud Guru, Pluralsight can now provide an all-in-one solution to accelerate the cloud skill development journey for large enterprise customers and individual learners.”

A Cloud Guru Co-founder and CEO, Sam Kroonenburg said that AGC & Pluralsight were found to solve the same issue- closing the tech skills gap by “democratizing access to technical education”. With the shared mission of both the companies, the two have taken different yet complementary approaches, adds Kroonenburg.

Both approaches have been proven to strongly resonate with customers wanting in-depth tech education, he added. Kroonenburg further added that he is excited by the company’s next mission in which, with Pluralsight, they will build next-gen platforms that will provide hands-on learning across all sorts of technologies

A Cloud Guru or AGC is driven by one simple mission which is to teach the world to cloud. AGC believes individuals learn best by doing. A Cloud Guru’s in-house cloud experts go that extra lengths to design and create fresh, hands-on and highly engaging learning tools that empower individuals to stay ahead of the tech curve. 

A Cloud Guru offers courses and hands-on labs across various platforms, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Linux, GCP, DevOps, Security, Kubernetes, Terraform and Ansible.

As the world’s most comprehensive and effective cloud learning Software-as-a-Service platform, ACG has helped over 2.5 million learners and 4,500+ companies to work towards a brighter future. 

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Pluralsight: a workforce development company 

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Pioneer technology workforce skill development firm Pluralsight helps teams and organizations build improved products by developing critical skills, enhancing processes and providing strategic skills consulting and data insights.

Trusted by emerging, visionary, forward-thinking organizations of all sizes and all industries, Pluralsight essentially helps individuals and enterprises level-up with technology. It also helps businesses in building technology skills at scale with courses structured and delivered by experts on today’s most relevant and crucial technologies, like data science, artificial intelligence, machine learning and security. 

Pluralsight Skills also includes solutions and tools that help in aligning business objectives with skill development. Skills provides hands-on labs, virtual instructor-led training, analytics and skill assessments.

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Vista Equity Capital buys Pluralsight 

In December 2020, the IT education platform was acquired by Vista Equity Partners for $3.5 billion. The deal comes out to $20.26 a share at a market cap of more than $2.7 billion. 

By acquiring Pluralsight, Vista got access to an online IT training organization that’s committed to helping IT professionals, like developers and operations, with a vast range of online courses.

Senior Managing Director at Vista and Co-head of the Vista Flagship Fund, Monti Saroya said that they’ve first hand witnessed the demand for skilled software engineers and IT professionals to outstrip supply continuously and Visa expects this trend to continue as they move into a hybrid virtual-offline world across all interactions and industries, with business leaders realizing that tech innovation is key to business success.

At the time of getting acquired by Vista, Pluralsight CEO Skonnard said that he sees this as a way of growing the company even more quickly. In a statement, Skonnard said that the entire global ecosystem of Vista of pioneering enterprise software firms will provide all significant tools and resources in addition to institutional knowledge that’ll help in opening doors and fueling Pluralsight’s growth. He’s thrilled to be able to harness the expertise of Vista to further enhance and strengthen their market position, Skonnard added.

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