School Specialty, Inc., a provider of educational products and services from the Pre-K-to-12th grade market in the U.S. and Canada., announced that substantially all its assets have been acquired by SSI Acquisition, LLC, an entity formed by TCW Asset Management Company, LLC, Cerberus Capital Management, and Lantern Capital Partners.
Post-closing, the company will operate as School Specialty, LLC. In conjunction with the transaction, Ryan M. Bohr was named president and CEO having served as the company’s COO since 2017 and CFO from 2014 to 2017.
Bohr stated, “While it has certainly been a challenging road to get to this point, this transaction is the best outcome we could have expected, particularly in the face of the challenging market conditions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Bohr further said, “The transaction not only keeps our business fully intact but restructures our balance sheet in a manner that materially reduces our debt and greatly increases the capital resources available to our Company. The investment groups sponsoring this transaction have been involved in our business since 2017 and have a strong appreciation for not only the uniqueness of School Specialty’s value proposition but also our strong market position and growth potential. Our entire organization appreciates the support they have provided, and we look forward to working with them as we pursue our strategic growth initiatives.”
The TCW Group’s Mark Gertzof commented, “TCW and our investment partners look forward to working with the School Specialty team and seeing the business operate from a position of strength as a well-capitalized company.”
Gertzof continued, “We strongly support the management team’s vision for the future of School Specialty and are excited to be their partner as they make that vision a reality.”
Bohr concluded, “With the transaction behind us, we can intensify our focus on finishing 2020 strong and supporting our customers as the new school year begins. After weathering a sharp pull-back in March and April as school systems rapidly switched to remote learning, we have seen our order volumes steadily improve as schools finalized their back-to-school plans and gained a better understanding of the unique requirements they would have to support those plans. Fortunately, our strong customer relationships, subject matter expertise and deep product assortment and capabilities have enabled us to support administrators and educators across the country during these unique times. As we enter the final months of 2020, while the mix of product and curriculum sales may be different, sales have generally returned to normal levels for this time of year.”