WHAT DOES THE FOX
SAY BUY? Foxconn, the Taiwanese company that claims to be the largest electronics maker in the world, has agreed to acquire SMART Technologies. SMART is best known for its interactive whiteboards, displays and clickers designed for classrooms and offices.
The sales price, at $4.50 a share, is a 21 percent premium over the average value of SMART’s stocks over the past 90 days. But it is a precipitous fall from what the Calgary-based company’s stocks were worth in 2010 when it went public at $166.20 a share. During the years since, the hardware needs in many U.S. districts shifted to laptops, tablets and Chromebooks as schools sought to provide students with 1:1 devices. Jason Orbaugh, a former classroom teacher and education consultant with SMART, has suggested that many teachers struggled to implement interactive whiteboards into their instructional practices, even though administrators kept buying them.
But there may still be a market for these tools—at least in the short term—according to UK market research firm Futuresource Consulting. “ Uptake in China is currently booming” with the country accounting for more than 50 percent of global market sales, Futuresource says. Last year, Chinese gaming company NetDragon Websoft snapped up Promethean, a UK company also known for interactive whiteboards, clickers and other educational hardware, for $130 million.