Abacus Finance Group was the Senior Secured Credit Facilities Administrative Agent and Sole Lender for senior secured credit facilities used to back the acquisition of Bellwether Media by Lineage Capital. In addition to its credit support, Abacus also made an equity co-investment in Bellwether.
Bellwether is a publisher of educational children’s books for students in pre-K through seventh grade under the Bellwether, Jump!, Bearport, and Kaleidoscope brands. The company has a portfolio of more than 7,500 nonfiction titles that address a variety of subjects and student segments, including early literacy, at-risk literacy, and STEM.
Bellwether’s books are sold to the school library, classroom, and public library markets and are written to be engaging and literacy-promoting. As a result, its products are recognized by librarians and educators as among the best nonfiction titles for beginning and struggling readers. Bellwether’s titles are found in libraries across North America, Europe, Australia, South Africa, and Asia. The company was founded in 2005 by John Martin and is headquartered near Minneapolis in Minnetonka, Minnesota.
“As in past transactions, the Abacus team provided fast and efficient execution and was able to give us the certainty we needed to close in a short timeframe,” said Mark Sullivan, a managing partner at Lineage.
Boston-based Lineage Capital invests in US-based owner-managed or closely-held companies that have EBITDA of at least $4 million and have shareholders that are interested in retaining an ownership stake in the business in partnership with Lineage.
“We are happy to support Bellwether Media, a company that has been performing extremely well,” said Tim Clifford, the president and CEO of Abacus. “As in other transactions, our success was a function of our speed, cash-flow flexibility, and certainty of close – key aspects of what we call our Total Partnership Approach™.”
Abacus provides cash flow-based senior financing to private equity and family office-sponsored, lower-middle market companies that have EBITDA between $3 million and $15 million. Debt facilities can be as large as $50 million. Since Abacus’s founding in June 2011, it has closed over $3 billion in financings. Abacus, led by Mr. Clifford, is headquartered in New York City and is an affiliate of New York Private Bank & Trust which was founded in 1850.
“Lineage is always excellent to work with and is a great partner for management teams,” added Abacus Managing Director Eric Petersen. In addition to Mr. Petersen, the Abacus transaction team included Senior Vice President Rafal Rydzewski, and Associate Greg Scanlon.
Madeira Partners was the investment banking advisor to Bellwether on this transaction.
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