NASHUA, N.H.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 19, 2002--SmartForce PLC, dba SkillSoft (Nasdaq: SKIL), a provider of e-Learning solutions for Global 2000 companies, offering a broad portfolio of courses addressing today's critical business and IT skills, today announced that its Shareholders, at an extraordinary general meeting of shareholders held today, approved a share repurchase program of up to 8.0 million of the company's ordinary shares which are represented by American Depository Shares (ADSs).
Purchases under SkillSoft's share repurchase program may be made, from time-to-time, in the open market or in privately negotiated transactions. The timing and amount of any repurchases will be determined by the company's management based on its evaluation of current market conditions and other factors. The repurchase program may be suspended or discontinued at any time without prior notice. As of November 18, 2002, the company had approximately 99,566,069 ADSs outstanding. The repurchase program will be funded out of the company's working capital, and at January 31, 2003 the company's cash balance, on a consolidated basis, net of merger and other non-recurring costs, is expected to be in excess of $100 million.
The company will not repurchase any of its shares until at least two business days after it has publicly announced its operating results for the fiscal third quarter ended October 31, 2002.
Additionally, the company also announced that its shareholders approved the change of the name of the company to SkillSoft PLC.
SkillSoft is a leading provider of e-learning courseware and referenceware for business and IT professionals. SkillSoft products and services are designed to accelerate the ability of today's workforce to master the business and technology skills required for competitive success. The company currently has more than 2,800 corporate customers worldwide and more than 4.5 million licensed users.
SkillSoft focuses on meeting the comprehensive business skills and information technology learning needs of professionals in Global 5000 organizations through a comprehensive range of content-focused, e-learning solutions, including:
Business Skills Library: More than 1,600 courseware and simulation titles encompassing professional effectiveness, management/leadership, project management, sales & customer-facing skills, business strategy/operations, finance, human resources, safety/health and financial services industry. Courses feature strong visual design; a focus on instructional objectives at the application and analysis levels; learner interactivity and reinforcement through RolePlays, SkillSimulations, and case studies; and pre- and post-course assessments with prescriptive learning capabilities.
IT Skills and Certification Library: More than 2,800 course titles encompassing software development, operating systems and server technologies, Internet and network technologies, enterprise database systems, web design, and desktop computer skills. The IT library also supports more than 40 certification programs.
ITPro and Business Pro Referenceware: More than 2,500 unabridged IT and business books and reports are available to online subscribers through SkillSoft's subsidiary, Books24x7. A unique, patent-pending search engine gives subscribers the ability to perform multi-level searches.
SkillSoft customers include organizations such as: First Union, Clarica (Canada), Fluor Corporation, Verizon, U.S. Army, Deloitte Consulting, Raytheon, IBM, Internal Revenue Service, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, Army National Guard, Dell Computers, Qwest, Department of Transportation, NEC America, British Telecom and Wells Fargo.
This release includes information that constitutes forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe harbor provision of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Any such forward-looking statements involve risk and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from any future results encompassed within the forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include difficulties in integrating the organizations of SmartForce and SkillSoft, competitive pressures, changes in customer demands or industry standards, adverse economic conditions, loss of key personnel, litigation and other matters disclosed under the heading "Risk Factors" in the company's most recent Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q and its proxy statement/prospectus dated August 5, 2002, each as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The forward-looking information provided in this press release represents the company's estimates as of November 19, 2002. We anticipate that subsequent events and developments will cause the company's estimates to change. However, while the company may elect to update this forward-looking financial information at some point in the future, the company specifically disclaims any obligation to do so. This forward-looking information should not be relied upon as representing the company's estimates of its future financial performance as of any date subsequent to the date of this release.
Tom McDonald, 603/324-3000, x 232
Corey Cutler/Michael Polyviou