NASHUA, N.H., Oct 11, 2002 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- 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 Board of Directors has authorized a share repurchase program of up to 8.0 million of the Company's American Depository Shares (ADSs). This repurchase program is subject to the approval of the Company's shareholders, and no repurchases may be made until that approval is obtained. The Company intends to hold a special shareholders meeting in November to seek such approval.
Purchases under SkillSoft's share repurchase program may be made, from time-to-time, in the open market or in privately negotiated transactions, and depending on market conditions and other factors, may be commenced or suspended at any time or from time to time without prior notice. Before the commencement of the share repurchase program, the Company anticipated approximately 107 to 108 million shares outstanding at January 31, 2003. The Company anticipates its cash balance, net of merger and other non-recurring costs, to be in excess of $100 million at January 31, 2003.
"As a result of SkillSoft's prospects, the Board agreed that buying back our shares represents an excellent long-term investment. Furthermore, the Board's decision reflects a belief in our overall strategy to deliver the most comprehensive and highest quality e-learning solutions, as it also demonstrates that we are well positioned to serve the demands of this growing market," said Chuck Moran, President and CEO of SkillSoft.
Additionally, the Company announced that its Board of Directors authorized the change of the name of the Company to SkillSoft PLC. This name change is also subject to shareholder approval, and will be submitted for a shareholder vote at the special shareholders meeting referenced above.
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.
SkillSoft, SkillPort, RolePlay, Search-and-Learn, e-Learning
for the Knowledge Economy, NetUniversity, and Accelerated Path
are trademarks and/or servicemarks of SkillSoft Corporation.
Books24x7 and Referenceware are servicemarks of Books24x7,
Inc. All brand names, trademarks, or registered trademarks
are the property of their respective holders.
SKILLSOFT COMPANY CONTACTS:
203 790 1591
Safe harbor language: This release includes information that constitutes forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions 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 competitive pressures, changes in customer demands or industry standards, adverse economic conditions, loss of key personnel, litigation and other matters disclosed under the heading "Future Operating Results'' in the Company's most recent Report on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The forward-looking information provided by the Company in this press release represents the Company's estimates as of November 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