Renovus Capital Partners (“Renovus”), Argosy Private Equity (“Argosy”) and BB&T Capital Partners (“BB&T CP”) announced today a significant investment in Linkage, Inc. (“Linkage” or the “Company”). Renovus, Argosy and BB&T CP are Small Business Investment Company (“SBIC”) funds that focus on acquiring or providing capital to companies with high growth potential. The three funds and management recapitalized Linkage from Prospect Partners, II, L.P., a Chicago-based private equity fund, and management.
Linkage, based in Burlington, Massachusetts, is a top provider of leadership training and development programs, assessments and professional services to organizations around the world. The Company’s consultants work with customers to identify and develop leaders and leadership teams that draw upon Linkage’s extensive library of intellectual property and research. Linkage has the largest and most extensive leadership offerings covering such subjects as Managing and Leading Change, Innovation, Leadership and Organization Development, Diversity and Women in Leadership. The Company’s intellectual property is the product of years of internal content development and partnership with leading subject matter experts. In addition to providing customized training and development programs, the Company also has created and runs three annual institutes focused on leadership: the Global Institute for Leadership Development (“GILD”), Women in Leadership (“WIL”) and the Institute for Leading Diversity & Inclusion (“ILDI”). Since 1988, Linkage has provided training and development to more than 250,000 leaders from 67 countries. Among Linkage’s myriad customers, its major clients include Allstate, Boeing, Coca-Cola, McKesson, Procter & Gamble and Toyota. Linkage has five offices in the U.S., as well as locations in 15 countries throughout Europe, Asia Pacific, South America, Middle East and Africa.
“This transaction provides a great opportunity for Linkage to continue its history of success,” noted Phil Harkins, Linkage’s CEO and founder. “In addition to capital, our new partners bring an in-depth understanding of the training industry and will support management as we pursue amazing opportunities for future growth.”
“Phil and his team have built a unique business with differentiated content and talented consultants,” concluded Brad Whitman, a Renovus founder. “With additional sales resources and a greater international presence, the Company can drive further growth.”
“As part of our diligence, we spoke with a number of Linkage customers and were really impressed with the feedback,” added Jesse Serventi, a Renovus founder. “The Company’s programs deliver improved business performance and this success has translated into exceptional customer retention.”
“As someone who has worked with a lot of similar companies, I am particularly impressed by the depth of talent at the Company,” noted Steven Morgenthal, an Argosy Managing Director. “Linkage is a leadership training and development company that practices what it preaches.”
“Linkage already has a strong brand in Europe and Asia and we are excited by the prospects of launching the Company’s already successful institutes overseas,” commented Tom Westbrook, a partner with BB&T CP.
DLA Piper advised the buyers on the transaction while Lincoln International and Sidley Austin advised Linkage.
About Renovus Capital Partners
Founded in January 2010, Renovus Capital Partners is a private equity firm based in Wynnewood, PA, a suburb of Philadelphia. Renovus is currently investing its first fund, a $180 million SBIC fund focusing on small and mid-sized businesses within the education and training sector. To date, the Fund has invested over $65 million in six portfolio companies in verticals such as corporate training, career colleges, and technology enabled content. The Fund is particularly interested in growth-oriented businesses, and the Renovus team actively partners with management to build its portfolio companies through acquisitions, new strategic initiatives and operational improvements. The Renovus team has a combined 46 years of experience investing in the education sector and the founding partners have been working together since 2005. For additional information on Renovus Capital Partners, see www.renovuscapital.com.
About Argosy Private Equity
Since 1990, Argosy Private Equity’s experienced investment team has provided operating and financial expertise to lower middle market companies across a broad range of industries. We partner with motivated management teams investing in companies with sustainable competitive advantages and growth prospects. Argosy is currently investing out of its 4th fund, a $180 million SBIC fund. For more information on Argosy Private Equity, see http://www.argosycapital.com/our-focus.
About BB&T Capital Partners
BB&T Capital Partners manages committed capital across three fund strategies which are all focused on the middle market. We make direct equity investments in control transactions of privately-held companies; we provide subordinated debt or mezzanine capital in support of transactions led by financial sponsors and others; and we invest in other private equity funds. Since 1998, we have invested in over 50 privately-held, middle market companies in a variety of industries, providing patient capital to facilitate buyouts, acquisitions, and recapitalizations. For more information on BB&T Capital Partners, see www.bbtcp.com.