Messaging and notification provider NTI Group Inc. has been acquired by a software and services firm in a deal worth $182 million. Blackboard Inc. purchases Sherman Oaks-based NTI with a combination of cash and stock. NTI provides mass messaging and notification services for educational and government organizations through voice, email and mobile devices. As of the third quarter of 2007, NTI had more than 1,200 contracts for its Connect-ED system with elementary and high school districts, and 130 contracts in higher education. NTI will operate under the Blackboard name and brand with corporate headquarters in Washington, D.C. The acquisition enables Blackboard to help educational institutions address issues such delivering mass communications with large populations of users across multiple devices; to quickly and effectively communicate with their entire campus in the event of an emergency; and integrate learning environments with cells phones and PDAs.