Thoma Bravo to Sell Excelligence Learning to Sterling — CORRECTED

Sterling Investment Partners has agreed to buy Excelligence Learning Corp. from Thoma Bravo. Financial terms were not announced. Monterey, Calif.-based Excelligence develops, distributes and makes educational products and supplies for child care programs, preschools, elementary schools, and consumers. CORRECTION: Thoma Bravo acquired Excelligence in 2006 and will realize an IRR of 2.5x, ROI of 2.5x and an IRR of 22%, a spokesman says. William Blair & Co. advised Excelligence.


Private equity firm Thoma Bravo, LLC today announced the signing of an agreement to sell portfolio company Excelligence Learning Corporation (Excelligence), a leading developer, manufacturer, distributor, and retailer of educational products and supplies for child care programs, preschools, elementary schools, and consumers, to private equity firm Sterling Investment Partners of Westport, CT.  Financial details were not disclosed.

Excelligence Learning Corporation was founded in 1985 as QTL Corporation and is headquartered in Monterey, CA, with five strategically-located distribution centers across the U.S.  Excelligence businesses include Discount School Supply, Early Childhood Manufacturers’ Direct (ECMD), Angeles®, Achievement Products, and Educational Products, Inc (EPI).

“Thoma Bravo’s partnership with Excelligence has been exceptional, and we have enjoyed working closely with the leadership team to substantially increase the value of the company through our buy and build strategy,” said Carl Thoma, a Managing Partner at Thoma Bravo.

Corey Whisner, an Advisory Principal at Thoma Bravo, added “Thoma Bravo is pleased to have helped strengthen Excelligence’s leadership in the industry, expand its early childhood education product line and position the company for continued growth and success.”

Thoma Bravo acquired Excelligence, formerly a public company, in a take-private transaction in 2006.  During the greater than four years of its ownership, Thoma Bravo helped Excelligence grow organically and through several acquisitions.

Kelly Crampton, Chief Executive Officer of Excelligence Learning Corporation said, “We appreciate the expertise Thoma Bravo brought to Excelligence, and we credit our growth and strengthened leadership in the industry to the acquisitions and operational best practices that Thoma Bravo helped us achieve.  We look forward to completing the transaction and to working with Sterling Investment Partners during this next phase of Excelligence’s growth in the educational products and supplies space.”

Charles Santoro, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Sterling commented, “We are highly impressed with Excelligence and are committed to working in partnership with management to continue the strong growth of the company.”  Mr. Santoro continued, “We look forward to providing the necessary resources to fuel potential acquisitions and organic growth of new and existing products.”

“We are thrilled to be associated with such a fine business,” said Douglas Newhouse, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Sterling.  “We and current management share the goal of continuing to take advantage of the opportunities in the growing education space and of providing superior customer service,” Mr. Newhouse continued.

Closing of the transaction, expected in August 2011, is contingent upon the satisfaction of certain conditions agreed to by the parties.  William Blair & Company served as exclusive financial advisor to Excelligence.

About Thoma Bravo, LLC
Thoma Bravo is a leading private equity investment firm that has been providing equity and strategic support to experienced management teams building growing companies for more than 30 years. The firm originated the concept of industry consolidation investing, which seeks to create value through the strategic use of acquisitions to accelerate business growth. Thoma Bravo applies its investment strategy across multiple industries, with a particular focus on the software, distribution and education sectors, and works in partnership with management to implement its operating and consolidation expertise to build long-term value. In the last five years, Thoma Bravo has completed more than 50 acquisitions across 17 platform companies with total annual earnings in excess of $1 billion.  For more information on Thoma Bravo, visit

About Excelligence Learning Corporation
Excelligence Learning Corporation is a leading developer, manufacturer, distributor, and retailer of educational products, which are sold to child care programs, preschools, elementary schools, and consumers. Excelligence provides quality educational products and programs for children from infancy to 12 years of age at all ability levels. The Corporation offers a broad array of products designed for classroom use, enhanced by its extensive proprietary product development program. Excelligence’s mission is to help further children’s education beginning at birth and to support learning at school and at home by providing educators and parents with high quality products, services, and valuable resources.  For more information about Excelligence, visit

About Sterling Investment Partners, L.P.
Sterling Investment Partners invests in companies with significant competitive strengths and growth potential.  Founded in 1991, Sterling has completed investments, strategic or add-on acquisitions, and liquidity events with an aggregate transaction value in excess of $8.0 billion, representing more approximately 100 transactions. Sterling maintains a broad industry focus, including professional and business services, niche manufacturing, transportation and logistics, retail/ consumer, technology-related and education businesses.