The Thomson Corp. plans to buy north Scottsdale-based KnowledgeNet, a privately held company that employs about 250 and provides live online learning programs.
The amount of the deal was not disclosed, and a company spokesman said he could not comment on the sale or the future of employees until the federal government does a standard antitrust review of the purchase.
The deal is expected to be completed by the end of the year. Thomson is based in Toronto and has its U.S. headquarters in Stamford, Conn.
The company said it will merge KnowledgeNet with its enterprise learning business, Thomson NETg.
"Thomson NETg and KnowledgeNet are a perfect fit," Thomas Graunke, KnowledgeNet CEO and co-founder, said in a statement. "Both companies have a long history of improving the effectiveness, accessibility and success of an array of training, development and learning programs. By merging our products, learning philosophies and industry expertise we are creating a compelling combination for all of our existing — and new — customers."
KnowledgeNet, 14624 N. Scottsdale Road, provides online learning content and technology to businesses and individuals.
Besides offering courses from well-known technology companies such as Microsoft, Cisco Systems and Sun Microsystems , it provides methods that allow organizations to develop their own courses.
The company’s hires its own experts to teach classes and it also offers self-paced training that can be taken 24-hours a day over the Web.
KnowledgeNet is the latest company that will no longer be based in Scottsdale. German consumer product giant The Henkel Group bought Scottsdale-based Dial Corp. for $2.9 billion late last year and in July 2000 Scottsdalebased PCS Health Systems was sold to a Texas company for nearly $1.3 billion.
Scottsdale economic vitality director Dave Roderique said the KnowledgeNet sale could be good for city.
"Most of the time mergers and acquisitions have actually been beneficial for us," he said. "Once in a while we get get somebody who leaves, but if you look, for example, when Motorola sold off its government systems operation to General Dynamics, they’ve actually added employees here since. Dial . . . still located here and doing well. DHL is another one where they are consolidating around the country, and they’re approaching . . . 1,000 employees now in Scottsdale."
Thomson is a former newspaper publisher that has gradually transformed itself mainly into a database provider. The Tribune is among Thomson’s former newspaper holdings.
Thomson NETg provides a wide range of learning content and technologies, including e-learning, e-reference, e-MBA, e-mentoring, Web-based assessments and certifications, as well as more traditional tools such as textbooks, job aids and instructor-led materials.