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Skillsoft Files Chapter to Ease $2B Debt Burden

“While our core business remains strong, with attractive profitability and cash flow characteristics, our debt levels are too high.”

Online learning company Skillsoft has filed for Chapter 11 bankrupty to implement a restructuring plan aimed at reducing its $2.1 billion debt load by more than 70%.

The plan, which has the support of most of Skillsoft’s first and second lien lenders, will “result in a comprehensive de-levering of the company’s balance sheet” and provide it with significant additional liquidity, Skillsoft said in a news release.

The bankruptcy filing comes about a year after Skillsoft launched a turnaround effort to stabilize its business by, among other things, migrating customers from its legacy Skillport e-learning software to its new Percipio platform.

“While our core business remains strong, with attractive profitability and cash flow characteristics, our debt levels are too high,” Chief Administrative Officer John Frederick said. “We need to invest further and that requires our debt levels to come down to free up cash to further enhance our offerings.”

Under the restructuring, the debt load would be reduced to about $585 million, lowering annual cash interest payments by about $100 million. Creditors have agreed to provide Skillsoft with $60 million to keep it operating during the Chapter 11 process.

Founded in 1989, Skillsoft serves thousands of organizations worldwide, including approximately 65% of the Fortune 500. It acquired the SumTotal learning and talent development suite in 2014 to expand its offerings.

According to Frederick, the company has lost customers in recent years due to competition from global enterprise technology companies that have entered the e-learning market and from companies that provide overlapping services for free.

“The friction the company has faced in adapting its business model to address market shifts in a timely matter, along with inconsistent growth across the company’s core business segments and integration issues with recent acquisitions, such as SumTotal, have also limited the company’s ability to use its resources to their full potential,” he said in a court declaration.

Skillsoft has so far moved about 50% of its customers from Skillport to Percipio. “The company’s projections … show improving profitability as the company continues to migrate customers to Percipio,” Frederick said.

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