Charlesbank Capital Partners and Partners Group closed Monday, Dec. 15 on their acquisition of Varsity Brands.
“The entire Varsity Brands team is united as never before to ensure we inspire and champion greater self-confidence and camaraderie for students across the country,” said Jeff Webb, Varsity Brands chairman and chief executive officer. “With a committed and experienced financial partner like Charlesbank at our side, our ability to deliver on this promise is sure to be enhanced. We now look forward to exciting new initiatives that affirm our unique status as the single source for our customers sport, spirit, and achievement needs.”
The acquisition builds on Charlesbank’s track record in the education and consumer markets, and is consistent with its focus on middle-market opportunities that present compelling investment returns with carefully controlled risk, said Charlesbank Managing Director Brandon White.
“Jeff and the Varsity senior team have built a unique platform with multiple avenues for growth, and we share their enthusiasm for the many opportunities ahead,” White said.
With combined sales in excess of $1.2 billion, Varsity Brands three businesses-Herff Jones, Varsity Spirit and BSN SPORTS-include the largest “K-through-College” sales force, with more than 1,000 sales professionals dedicated to providing products and services to the school and institutional markets. With customizable products and programs, including yearbooks and graduation products, cheerleading uniforms, camps and competitions, and sports apparel and equipment, the three businesses serve the full spectrum of schools as well as sports teams and other organizations.
Jefferies LLC served as lead financial advisor to the company and the Board of Directors, with Stout Risius Ross providing related advisory services. Barnes & Thornburg LLP served as the company’s lead legal counsel. K&L Gates LLP and McGlinchey Stafford also served as legal advisors. Krieg DeVault LLP provided legal counsel to GreatBanc Trust Company.
Charlesbank and Partners Group were represented by Goodwin Procter LLP and Greenburg Traurig LP as legal counsel. Goldman Sachs Bank USA, Barclays, Ares Capital Corporation and Crescent Mezzanine provided debt financing commitments for the transaction, and Goldman Sachs & Co. and Barclays also served as M&A advisors to Charlesbank.
With over 4,600 dedicated employees and independent representatives, Varsity Brands reaches its individual and institutional customers each year via catalog, telesales, e-commerce sites, and direct sales channels.
Based in Boston and New York, Charlesbank Capital Partners is a middle-market private equity investment firm managing more than $3 billion of capital. Charlesbank focuses on management-led buyouts and growth capital financings. The firm seeks to partner with strong management teams to build companies with sustainable competitive advantage and excellent prospects for growth.
Partners Group is a global private markets investment management firm with over $42 billion in investment programs under management in private equity, private real estate, private infrastructure and private debt. The firm is headquartered in Zug, Switzerland, and has over 700 professionals across 18 offices around the globe.