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CBT Group adds Knowledge

The company announces that it will buy Knowledge Well, an education software company, for $52 million in stock and tap the company's top executives through the deal.

CBT Group, an interactive software training company, just got a little smarter.

The Redwood City-based company, today announced it will buy Knowledge Well, an education software company, for $52 million in stock and tap the company's top executives through the deal.

Under the agreement, CBT will issue 4.8 million shares for all of Knowledge Well's outstanding shares and options.

The acquisition is pending approval from regulators and CBT Group's shareholders. Executives expect to close the deal early next year.

Along with its new purchase, CBT has tapped William G. McCabe, 42, Knowledge Well's current chairman, as new chairman of the CBT board. He replaces James Buckley, who resigned in October. Greg Priest, 35, has been named president and CEO of CBT.

McCabe said he expects to make a significant purchase of CBT shares after the acquisition is settled.

Both Priest and McCabe have a long history with CBT.

As CBT's chairman and CEO for many years, McCabe helped the company grow and expand internationally in the late 1980s and through most of the 1990s. He served on the interim Management Committee that has run CBT since October.

Priest was formerly CBT Group's chief financial officer, leaving at the end of 1997 to lead Knowledge Well, which focuses on distance learning and higher education.

Two executives who left CBT Group earlier this year are also returning to the management team. Bill Beamish, 44, has been named executive vice president, product strategy, and Jeff Newton, 44, will serve as executive vice president, global channel sales.

McCabe, in a prepared statement, called the transaction "very powerful for CBT Group," enabling the company to reinvigorate CBT Group's executive management.

CBT Group is the largest independent vendor of interactive education software for information technology professionals. Knowledge Well builds distance learning programs for Kansas State University.

CBT's stock closed at 12-7/16 yesterday , below its year high of 63-7/8 but above its year low of 6-11/16.