Golden Gate Capital has acquired Deerfield Beach, Florida-based The Learning Experience, an early education franchise. No financial terms were disclosed. Harris Williams & Co was financial adviser to The Learning Experience. UPDATE: Varagon is providing a $155 million credit facility to support the acquisition, according to a source familiar with the transaction.
SAN FRANCISCO & DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Golden Gate Capital (“Golden Gate”), a leading private equity investment firm, today announced that it has acquired The Learning Experience, one of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing academies of early education for children six weeks to six years old. The Learning Experience, headquartered in Deerfield Beach, Florida, is led by Co-Founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer Richard Weissman. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Richard Weissman co-founded The Learning Experience in 2001, building on the Weissman family’s decades of experience developing and implementing child care and early education programs in a safe and positive environment. The Learning Experience offers state-of-the-art facilities and a proprietary curriculum for children to develop core academic skills, fitness and healthy lifestyle skills, and life and comfort skills, all under the care of nurturing teachers and staff. For nearly 20 years, The Learning Experience has provided the foundation necessary for children to succeed in preschool, kindergarten, and beyond.
Over the past two decades, Weissman successfully pioneered a franchise model to expand The Learning Experience to more than 300 company-owned and franchise centers operating or under development across 22 states, with plans to open its first international location in late 2019 in the United Kingdom. The Learning Experience has generated double-digit annual growth for the past 15 years, making it a clear leader in the early childhood education sector.
“Thanks to our dedicated staff and franchisees, The Learning Experience has become an industry leader in the United States with strong, consistent performance,” said Weissman. “Golden Gate Capital is fully committed to our curriculum and vision, with an excellent track record of accelerating the growth of multi-unit consumer companies. This is a transformational moment for The Learning Experience and the children and families we support, and we are thrilled to partner with Golden Gate as we work together to build on our momentum and provide a foundation for even more children to learn, play, and grow.”
Josh Cohen, Managing Director at Golden Gate Capital, said, “The Learning Experience has created a proprietary educational platform that enables its franchisees to provide the highest caliber of academic, physical, and social education to children at their most critical stages of development. We are excited to partner with Richard, his leadership team, and the company’s franchisees to accelerate their growth plans domestically and internationally in the growing early childhood education market.”
Ropes & Gray LLP and Nob Hill Law Group P.C. served as legal advisors to Golden Gate Capital. Harris Williams & Co. served The Learning Experience as financial advisor and Goodwin Procter LLP and Greenberg Traurig LLP served as legal advisors to the Company. Varagon Capital Partners will serve as administrative agent on a senior secured credit facility.
About Golden Gate Capital
Golden Gate Capital is a San Francisco-based private equity investment firm with over $15 billion of capital under management. The principals of Golden Gate Capital have a long and successful history of investing across a wide range of industries and transaction types, including going-privates, corporate divestitures, and recapitalizations, as well as debt and public equity investments. Representative multi-unit consumer sector investments sponsored by Golden Gate Capital include Express Oil Change & Tire Engineers, Mavis Discount Tire, Bob Evans Restaurants, Red Lobster, Eddie Bauer, California Pizza Kitchen, Pacific Sunwear, Express, and Zales. For more information, visit www.goldengatecap.com.
About The Learning Experience®
The Learning Experience®, with more than 300 centers operating or under development, is one of the nation’s fastest-growing Academies of Early Education for children ages six weeks to six years old. With a greater national emphasis on educational development during the most crucial years of a child’s growth, The Learning Experience places a prominent focus on programs that advance scholastic preparation. The Learning Experience prepares children academically and socially via innovative scholastic and enrichment programs such as the L.E.A.P.® curriculum, a cutting-edge proprietary approach to learning which has 9 out of 10 of its children entering Kindergarten already reading. To complement the academic curriculum, The Learning Experience utilizes various enrichment programs crucial to advancing learning and overall balance, such as philanthropy, Yippee 4 Yoga™, Music 4 Me®, Movin’ N Groovin’®, manners and etiquette, and foreign language.
For more information, please visit www.thelearningexperience.com.