Brentwood Associates has acquired Excelligence Learning Corporation, a developer, manufacturer, distributor, and multi-channel retailer of educational products, which are sold to child care programs, preschools, elementary schools, and consumers.
“The Excelligence business model fits perfectly with our strategy of investing in growing, best-in-class, multi-channel marketers that foster consistently high customer loyalty. We will continue to support the company’s growth in such areas as product innovation, catalog and digital marketing, operational excellence across its global distribution and fulfillment platform, and strategic acquisitions,” said Eric Reiter, partner at Brentwood.
Excelligence has more than 20,000 SKUs and serves the pre-K and elementary markets, offering a one-stop shop for teachers, institutions, and parents seeking educational products. The company provides a selection of branded, private label, and proprietary products across several categories, including arts and crafts, infant and toddler, active play, dramatic play, furniture & equipment, math, language, and science. The company’s “Discount School Supply” brand represents its largest business segment and, according to Excelligence, is a market share leader in the arts and crafts category. In addition to its headquarters in Monterey, CA, the company operates five distribution facilities throughout the US. Excelligence was founded in 1985 (www.excelligence.com).
Chief Executive Officer Kelly Crampton, who has been with the company for 25 years, will continue to lead the business under Brentwood’s ownership. “We are thrilled to partner with Brentwood, whose track record of success in the consumer and education spaces and whose extensive experience with multi-channel businesses will be a great asset as we extend our leadership position in our growing end markets,” said Mr. Crampton.
“Excelligence’s level of customer service sets the industry standard, and the company’s resulting strong customer loyalty is unmatched in the pre-K and kindergarten space” said Bill Barnum, partner at Brentwood and co-founder of the firm’s private equity effort. “We believe that the company has created an extraordinary platform for continued organic and acquisition driven growth.”
GE Capital Corporation and Ares Capital, through the two lenders’ Senior Secured Loan Program, provided the debt financing to support the acquisition.
Brentwood Associates is a consumer-focused private equity investment firm with over $1.2 billion of assets under management. Sectors of interest include specialty retail; branded consumer products; consumer services; direct marketing, including direct mail and e-commerce; education; health and wellness; and restaurants. Since 1984, Brentwood’s private equity team has invested in 47 portfolio companies with an aggregate transaction value of over $6 billion. The firm is based in Los Angeles (www.brentwood.com).
Excelligence is the fifth acquisition by Brentwood Associates’ latest fund, Brentwood Associates Private Equity V, LP, which held a final close in December of 2014.
Excelligence was advised by William Blair & Company and its legal counsel was Norton Rose Fulbright. Brentwood was represented by Kirkland & Ellis.
© 2015 PEPD • Private Equity’s Leading News Magazine • 1-6-15