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Combined Business makes Global Knowledge Europe’s Largest IT Training Provider

The privately held training provider for IT services, Global Knowledge, have recently announced an acquisition that sees them placed in a dominant position in the European marketplace.

The acquisition was announced in March 2006, and sees Global Knowledge taking over the training division of TechData Corporation known as Azlan Training. The new combined operations will see them made the largest single IT training provider in Europe, operating in some twelve countries (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Holland, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and the UK) and generating approximately £65 million (or 100 million US Dollars). The merger will see Global Knowledge lead the market, becoming the primary Cisco Learning Solutions Partner (CLSP) both worldwide and in Europe and the largest Microsoft Certified Partner for Learning Solutions in Europe.

Global Knowledge and Azlan

Global Knowledge was founded in 1995 and is now the largest privately held training provider for training in IT as well as offering new and innovative training solutions and software solutions to the IT sector managers, delivered through the OnDemand Software Division that generates a swifter return on investment. The curriculum is developed for each individual client, making their service provision a client or employer / learner centred approach, which has become the central plank to the recent Government initiatives in the UK.

Amongst the many companies that their services offer experience and material on are international corporations such as Cisco, software giants Microsoft, and Oracle. The training is delivered through a variety of media, including classroom training or through using the internet and emergent training technologies. The North Carolina centred company also has international headquarters in London.

The training division of TechData, Azlan, is the leading distributor of value added networking, servers, storage and enterprise software and services across Europe and even stretching into the Middle East. The parent corporation, TechDate, was founded in 1974 and is a leading distributor of IT products and services across more than 100 countries worldwide.

A Commitment to the Global Market

Reacting to the acquisition, Joseph W. Cece, the Chief Executive Officer and President of Global Knowledge said that the move represented a commitment to the market. He said: “The scale created by this transaction will allow us to serve our corporate customers, students, and technology vendor partners with the broadest, deepest, and most frequent schedule of public and private classroom and web-based IT instruction in the European theatre.”

The Vice President, Bob Lewis, agreed, adding: “By acquiring Azlan Training we have a unique opportunity to re-define the competitive landscape in a fragmented IT training market. Joining forces with Azlan Training will enable us to offer a broader, comprehensive portfolio of courses, delivered reliably through an enhanced schedule and geared to suit all learning requirements.”

Azlan Training are also pleased and excited at the opportunity that the move offers. Nigel Pearson, European Training Director for Azlan Training, said: “Azlan Training has been very committed to providing sustainable, long-term value to our customers across Europe. By combining the strength and expertise of our people and offerings, customers can select from a broad range of pan-European IT training solutions they can rely on from a global provider they can trust. We are thrilled to become part of Global Knowledge.”

The unification of training providers is a perfectly natural phenomenon according to the usual dynamics of the marketplace. There are a large number of individual training providers at present, and it is probable that there will be further acquisitions and mergers as the market coagulates into fewer, larger blocks. This should offer more consistent training provision and a certain guarantee of quality that is difficult to ensure in a plethora of smaller providers; however, the fear remains that this trend could result in a shrinking breadth of provision.

Jethro Marsh

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