January 6, 2015 Last Updated 8:05 am

Excelligence Learning Corporation bought by private equity firm Brentwood Associates

Excelligence is one of the largest distributors of educational products in the U.S., serving the pre-K and elementary markets

Press Release:

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – January 6, 2015 — Brentwood Associates, a leading consumer-focused private equity investment firm (“Brentwood”), announced it has acquired Excelligence Learning Corporation, headquartered in Monterey, California. Excelligence is a leading developer, manufacturer, distributor, and multi-channel retailer of educational products, which are sold to child care programs, preschools, elementary schools, and consumers. The company is led by Chief Executive Officer Kelly Crampton, who has been with the company for 25 years and will continue to lead the business going forward.

Founded in 1985, Excelligence is one of the largest distributors of educational products in the U.S. The company serves the growing pre-K and elementary markets, offering a one-stop shopping experience for teachers, institutions, and parents seeking an extensive assortment of over 20,000 products. The company provides a full-line selection of branded, private label, and proprietary products across several categories, including arts and crafts, infant and toddler, active play, dramatic play, furniture and equipment, math, language, and science. The “Discount School Supply” brand represents the company’s largest business segment and is a market leader in the arts and crafts category. In addition to its headquarters in Monterey, California, the company operates five distribution facilities throughout the U.S., providing for fast and cost-effective delivery.

Commenting on the new partnership, CEO Kelly Crampton said, “We are thrilled to partner with Brentwood, whose track record of success in the consumer and education spaces and whose extensive experience with multi-channel businesses will be a great asset as we extend our leadership position in our growing end markets.” Crampton continued, “We are excited to build upon Excelligence’s strong foundation and to fuel growth as we provide even greater value to our customers.”

Eric Reiter, partner at Brentwood, commented, “The Excelligence business model fits perfectly with our strategy of investing in growing, best-in-class, multi-channel marketers that foster consistently high customer loyalty. We will continue to support the company’s growth in such areas as product innovation, catalog and digital marketing, operational excellence across its global distribution and fulfillment platform, and strategic acquisitions. We look forward to working with Kelly and his leadership team to build upon their tremendous success and the impeccable reputation they have established within the educational products market.”

“Excelligence’s level of customer service sets the industry standard, and the company’s resulting strong customer loyalty is unmatched in the pre-K and kindergarten space” said Bill Barnum, partner at Brentwood and co-founder of the firm’s private equity effort. “We believe that the company has created an extraordinary platform for continued organic and acquisition driven growth.”

Steve Moore, partner at Brentwood, added, “With a recovering economic backdrop and continued, research-based support for the powerful and positive societal impact of early childhood learning, we feel the basis for growth at Excelligence has never been better.”

Excelligence is the fifth acquisition by Brentwood Associates’ latest fund, Brentwood Associates Private Equity V, L.P., which held a final close in December of 2014. This transaction concludes an active year for Brentwood, which also included the initial public offering of Zoe’s Kitchen as well as the acquisitions of Marshall Retail Group and Z Gallerie.

Excelligence was advised by William Blair & Company, L.L.C., and its legal counsel was Norton Rose Fulbright. Brentwood was represented by Kirkland & Ellis LLP. General Electric Capital Corporation and Ares Capital Corporation provided the debt financing supporting the acquisition through the Senior Secured Loan Program.

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