Corporate Executive Board Buys ITtoolbox

By Thomas Heath
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Corporate Executive Board, a D.C. firm that provides business advice to corporations around the world, continued its expansion with the acquisition of ITtoolbox, an online community where information-technology professionals trade ideas.

The acquisition, which closed for $59 million on July 31, is CEB's second recent investment in online businesses. Last month, CEB and Allen & Co., a New York investment bank, purchased an $8.8 million stake in PayScale, a major provider of online salary data.

CEB chief executive Thomas L. Monahan III said the acquisitions create more value for his company's subscriber base and add new possibilities for expanding into other business lines.

"These are models that let us tap a broader constituency and reinforce our core strategy of serving senior executives," Monahan said. "We like ITtoolbox because it helps professionals do their job better by tapping each other for insight and help. It also allows us to access professionals and companies we don't currently serve."

Founded in 1998 in Scottsdale, Ariz., ITtoolbox is an online community that helps IT professionals stay current on industry practices. The ITtoolbox site includes blogs, discussion groups, professional networking tools and a "wiki" -- a collaborative online reference guide that can be edited by anyone who has access to it.

ITtoolbox's advertisers include Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, Dell and Hewlett-Packard.

"We saw a chance to do what we are passionate about doing, but doing it better," said ITtoolbox chief executive and co-founder Dan Morrison. "We saw an opportunity to apply our community platform to other business functions beyond IT."

Morrison said he will stay with the company and hold similar responsibilities after it becomes a CEB subsidiary, but he said his job title will probably change.

The CEB was spun off in 1997 from the Advisory Board, which was founded by Atlantic Media Chairman David Bradley. CEB provides best-practices research and analysis focusing on corporate strategy, operations and management to more than 3,700 businesses around the world. Its shares fell 56 cents to close at $68.48 on the Nasdaq Global Select Market.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company