The Carlyle Group has taken a controlling stake in WorldStrides, a student travel organization. Financial terms of the deal, which closed yesterday, weren’t disclosed. Charlottesville, Va.-WorldStrides provides supplemental educational student travel programs. The sellers were Charlesbank Capital Partners and Silverhawk Capital Partners, who will each continue to own stakes in WorldStrides.
Global alternative asset manager The Carlyle Group announced that it has made a controlling investment in WorldStrides, the nation’s largest student travel organization. The transaction closed Tuesday, October 4; financial terms were not disclosed.
Located in Charlottesville, Virginia, WorldStrides is the nation’s largest provider of supplemental educational student travel programs. The Company is the only provider to be accredited by all six of the regional accrediting bodies recognized by the Department of Education. WorldStrides leads group travel programs to more than 80 countries and serves approximately 200,000 students annually. Founded in 1967, WorldStrides has provided educational trips and accredited educational content to more than 4,000,000 students from elementary through graduate school. The company has earned multi‐year customer relationships with teachers and school administrators by providing superior educational content, disciplined travel operations and exceptional levels of student safety.
Carlyle acquired its interest in the business from Charlesbank Capital Partners and Silverhawk Capital Partners, both of which will continue to own stakes in WorldStrides. Charlesbank first invested in the company in 2005, alongside Management and Silverhawk.
“We have greatly enjoyed working with Jim Hall and his team to grow the business these past several years,” says Josh Klevens, Charlesbank Managing Director. “We are proud to have played a role in strengthening WorldStrides’ position as a market leader and are pleased to remain shareholders in the company. We now look forward to partnering with The Carlyle Group in support of the next phase of the Company’s growth.”
Jim Hall, CEO of WorldStrides, says, “Charlesbank and Silverhawk’s experience and insight have been key factors in the success of our business and we are pleased to continue the partnership with both firms. Combining with Carlyle is an exciting and logical next step, and one that I’m confident will benefit our customers, employees and other stakeholders. We expect them to be a valuable partner as we continue to grow WorldStrides both domestically and internationally.”
Brooke Coburn, Managing Director and Co-Fund Head of Carlyle U.S. Growth Fund III, L.P., and Carlyle U.S. Equity Opportunity Fund, L.P, says, “WorldStrides is the market leader in U.S. educational student travel programs with a long history of providing the highest quality educational programs. We are excited to partner with CEO Jim Hall and his excellent team, and look forward to working together to capitalize on the significant future global growth opportunities.”
Equity capital for this transaction came from Carlyle U.S. Growth Fund III, L.P., and Carlyle U.S. Equity Opportunity Fund, L.P.
Other Carlyle investments in the education sector include: Blackboard, Schoolnet, Catapult Learning, Wall Street Institute/Wall Street English, Apollo Global, HaoYue Education Group, NeWorld Education Group and Topia Education.
WorldStrides was advised in the transaction by Robert W. Baird & Co. Goodwin Procter provided legal counsel for the Company, with Kirkland & Ellis LLP advising Carlyle.
About Charlesbank Capital Partners
Based in Boston and New York, Charlesbank Capital Partners is a middle-market private equity investment firm managing more than $2 billion of capital. Charlesbank focuses on management-led buyouts and growth capital financings, typically investing in companies with enterprise values of $100 million to $750 million. The firm seeks to partner with strong management teams to build companies with sustainable competitive advantages and excellent prospects for growth. For more information, visit www.charlesbank.com.
About Silverhawk Capital Partners
Silverhawk is an independent investment group established in 2005 to invest in management buyouts and other private equity transactions in the industrial, energy/natural resources and business service sectors. The partners of Silverhawk have invested as a team and operated businesses since 1989. Further information is available at www.silverhawkcapitalpartners.com.
About The Carlyle Group
The Carlyle Group is a global alternative asset manager with approximately $153 billion of assets under management across 86 funds and 49 fund of fund vehicles as of June 30, 2011*. Carlyle invests across four segments — Corporate Private Equity, Real Assets, Global Market Strategies and Fund of Funds Solutions — in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East, North America and South America focusing on aerospace, defense, & government services, consumer & retail, energy, financial services, healthcare, industrial, technology & business services, telecommunications & media and transportation. The Carlyle Group employs more than 1,100 people in 34 offices across 6 continents. Web: www.carlyle.com; Case Studies: www.carlylegroupcreatesvalue.com; Video: www.youtube.com/OneCarlyle. (*Includes acquisitions of AlpInvest Partners B.V. and Emerging Sovereign Group LLC on July 1, 2011.)