Content integration completes merger

9 Jan 2003

The completion of the integration of Books24x7 Referenceware content by SkillSoft’s product development team marks one of the key milestones in the troubled merger between SkillSoft and Irish firm SmartForce.

The combined company is facing at least three legal actions over claims that SmartForce misstated revenues and dealflow, thereby prompting investors to buy shares in the company.

According to SkillSoft, the completed integration of Books24x7 Referenceware includes more than 3,000 unabridged IT and business books and reports with the MySmartForce e-learning platform, with 20 to 50 new titles added each week. Books24x7’s patent-pending search engine gives users the ability to perform online, multi-tier searches of specific books, as well as the entire collection. The MySmartForce e-learning platform complements the SkillSoft’s IT and business skills libraries by managing and tracking learning activities conducted by learners.

“This integration work is one of several major integration projects begun shortly after the merger between SkillSoft and SmartForce was finalised in early September,” says Lee Ritze, vice-president of marketing and professional services. “Our goal with all of these projects is to give customers the ability to leverage the strengths and assets of the newly combined organisation,” he adds. According to Ritze, the completion of additional integration projects will be announced early in 2003.

The recent legal actions that SkillSoft became embroiled in have been taken by at least three US law firms that have filed class action law suits against SmartForce and two of its executives, Greg Priest and William McCabe, on behalf of investors who lost money on shares they acquired between 19 October, 1999 and 22 November, 2002.

The three firms allege that SmartForce’s failure to supply investors with correct financial details over the previous three-year period was fraudulent, insofar as they allege that untrue statements about the company’s finances were made in order to induce the plaintiffs to buy SmartForce shares.

By John Kennedy