Cherry Tree Advises Integrity Solutions on its Recapitalization with Corridor Capital

Cherry Tree Advises Integrity Solutions on its Recapitalization with Corridor Capital

Integrity Solutions

Cherry Tree Advises Integrity Solutions on its Recapitalization with Corridor Capital

IntegritySolutions

“The Cherry Tree team is first class! They worked tirelessly to find the best partner for our company. I was amazed at how well they communicated and kept us informed throughout the process. Every member of the team was a joy to work with. Our owners and board are pleased and highly recommend this excellent firm.”

— Mike Esterday, CEO and Co-Owner

INDUSTRY:
Corporate Training

DESCRIPTION:
Provider of Corporate Sales, Customer Service and Coaching Training

HQ LOCATION:
Nashville, TN

TRANSACTION TYPE:
Recapitalization with Financial Sponsor

Situation

In November 2023, Integrity Solutions, a provider of corporate sales, customer service and coaching training programs that equip teams to achieve their full potential, was recapitalized by Corridor Capital, a Los Angeles-based private equity firm. Integrity Solutions has more than five decades of experience providing award-winning sales and service training programs in 130 countries to industries including healthcare, financial services, manufacturing, energy, utilities, agriculture, and more.

Cherry Tree’s Role

Cherry Tree was engaged to assist the Integrity Solutions shareholders and management in finding the right partner to continue its strong growth trajectory, and it was crucial to the Board of Directors that a new partner shared the Company’s values of integrity and excellence. Cherry Tree leveraged its education experience, disciplined processes, network of potential buyers to identify and achieve a favorable outcome for the Integrity stakeholders. Cherry Tree’s customized process included introductions and discussions with numerous potential investors in marketing the opportunity, soliciting proposals, negotiating terms, supporting due diligence, and facilitating the closing of the transaction.

About Integrity Solutions

Founded in 1968 by Ron Willingham, Integrity Solutions has spent decades creating and improving a unique learning process that translates knowledge and skills into real-world behaviors. Integrity’s award-winning sales and sales leadership programs have been taught in over 130 countries, serving various industries including healthcare, financial services, manufacturing, energy, utilities, agriculture and more.

About Corridor Capital

Founded in 2005 in Los Angeles, Corridor Capital is a private equity firm specializing in mid-market companies, focusing on services and distribution sectors. They aim for sustainable growth by improving infrastructure and efficiency. Their strategy involves forming close partnerships with management, particularly in family-owned or entrepreneur-led firms, to boost operational performance. Corridor Capital typically acquires controlling interests but encourages owners to retain significant stakes, ensuring aligned interests for successful transformations.

About Cherry Tree & Associates

Cherry Tree & Associates is a private investment banking firm headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Founded in 1980, it specializes in M&A transactions for both buyers and sellers of middle market companies. Additionally, it conducts private placements for high quality, entrepreneurially managed growth companies, provides strategic advisory services for CEOs and boards of directors, and prepares fairness opinions and other valuation services.

Cherry Tree & Associates provides investment banking services through our FINRA-licensed broker dealer.

DISCLOSURES
FINRA
SIPC

Cherry Tree Advises STAR Autism Support on its Recapitalization with Prairie Capital

Cherry Tree Advises STAR Autism Support on its Recapitalization with Prairie Capital

STAR Autism

Cherry Tree Advises STAR Autism Support on its Recapitalization with Prairie Capital

SafeNet logo

“Cherry Tree put incredible time and effort into this project over the last year and from my perspective went above and beyond. I sincerely appreciate the work and will be recommending Cherry Tree to anyone and everyone.”

— Jesse Arick | CEO, STAR Autism Support

INDUSTRY:
K-12 Education; Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

DESCRIPTION: 
Provider of evidence-based curriculum materials, workshops, and trainings, to K-12 school districts and teachers who work with special education students, especially those with autism.

HQ LOCATION: 
Portland, OR

TRANSACTION TYPE:
Recapitalization / Sale to Financial Buyer

Situation:

In September 2023 STAR Autism Support (STAR), a leader in providing products and services that help K-12 schools serve students in special education, was recapitalized by Prairie Capital, a Chicago-based middle-market private equity firm. STAR combines research-validated, evidence-based curriculum and professional development services to drive effective and consistent instruction throughout school districts.  STAR’s system-wide implementation approach builds teaching capacity to help manage districts’ growing needs.

Cherry Tree’s Role:

Cherry Tree was engaged to help STAR and its shareholders identify the best partner to help the Company navigate its strong growth while maximizing shareholder value and maintaining its mission and value proposition. The Cherry Tree team advised STAR in a process that included both strategic entities as well as growth-oriented and experienced investors, where its role included preparing evaluation materials, effectively communicating the investment opportunity to potential investors and buyers, engaging with a wide range of qualified parties, soliciting proposals and negotiating attractive terms, and supporting the owners and management team through the diligence process and finalizing the definitive agreements.

About:

STAR Autism Support: STAR was founded in 2004 with the mission of helping others successfully implement research-based techniques (including applied behavior analysis), so that every child with autism can receive effective instruction. Co-founded by Dr. Joel Arick, who began working with children with autism in 1973, and Sheila Magee, a curriculum author with over 30+ years of experience in the field of special education and autism, STAR provides evidence-based curriculum materials, workshops, and training to school districts and teachers who work with students with autism. STAR has supported over 2,500 K-12 districts and continues to develop innovative solutions for all students across the autism spectrum. To learn more, visit www.StarAutismSupport.com.

Prairie Capital: Founded in Chicago in 1997, Prairie Capital is a private equity fund with a long and successful track record of scaling growth-oriented, lower middle market companies in partnership with talented founders and management teams. Since inception, Prairie has invested over $1 billion in 100+ platform companies. Prairie makes control equity investments in founder-owned companies that require company-building investments to evolve into scalable platforms capable of sustaining accelerated growth. Prairie targets companies with $4 to $12 million in EBITDA that participate in growing subsectors within education, technology, business services, consumer, healthcare, and industrial.

Cherry Tree & Associates: Cherry Tree & Associates is a private investment banking firm headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Founded in 1980, it specializes in M&A transactions for both buyers and sellers of middle market companies. Additionally, it conducts private placements for high quality, entrepreneurially managed growth companies, provides strategic advisory services for CEOs and boards of directors, and prepares fairness opinions and other valuation services.

Cherry Tree & Associates provides investment banking services through our FINRA-licensed broker dealer.

DISCLOSURES
FINRA
SIPC

Cherry Tree Advises Lindenwood University on its Acquisition of Dorsey College

Cherry Tree Advises Lindenwood University on its Acquisition of Dorsey College

Lindenwood University

Cherry Tree Advises Lindenwood University on its Acquisition of Dorsey College

“This is a historic moment for both institutions which have a shared vision for providing learner-centric education.  A key part of our strategy is to expand into the ‘just-in-time’ learner space, and Dorsey’s 89-year history of providing exceptional career-focused education is a perfect fit.”

— Dr. John Porter, President and CEO of both Lindenwood Education System and Lindenwood University

INDUSTRY:
Higher Education
DESCRIPTION: 
Non-Profit, regionally accredited NCAA Division I, liberal arts university
HQ LOCATION: 
St. Charles, MO
TRANSACTION TYPE:
100% Buyout

Situation

In March 2023, Lindenwood Education System, the non-profit parent entity of Lindenwood University, completed its acquisition of Dorsey College, a nationally accredited institution that provides career-focused education in the healthcare, skilled trades, culinary arts, emergency medical services, and beauty and wellness fields. Lindenwood Education System is now the parent organization of both Dorsey College and its existing Lindenwood University, a regionally accredited university with a 190-year history and more than 75,000 alumni.

Under Lindenwood Education System, Dorsey College and Lindenwood University will operate as separate education institutions, and Dorsey will maintain its name and career-focused programs. Lindenwood University will continue as a regionally accredited, NCAA Division I, liberal arts college offering on-campus and online education.

Dorsey is the oldest career college in Michigan serving more than 1,800 students across eight campuses in the state. The college offers more than 20 programs and certificates running from six to 24 months in length. It is also Michigan’s largest educator of practical nurse and emergency medical service graduates.

This is the first step in the plan of the Lindenwood Education System to build a network of schools with complementary educational programs that can provide life-long education leading to career advancement. Immediately following completion of the transaction, Dorsey College will hold tax-exempt status for corporate and tax purposes. In the coming months, Dorsey anticipates pursuing recognition as a non-profit institution of higher education with the U.S. Department of Education.

“This is the natural next step for Dorsey College,” said John Barnes, CEO and president of Dorsey College, who will remain in his leadership role. “We believe our career-focused curriculum and our deep commitment to developing the whole person to promote their long-term success aligns perfectly with Lindenwood’s learner-centric mission. These commitments will only grow stronger as a member of the Lindenwood family.”

The Lindenwood Education System represents an innovative and forward-looking approach to growth in the increasingly competitive higher education market which has seen historic enrollment declines in recent years. “We believe the Lindenwood Education System is the beginning of a new network of schools that will attract students by providing them with a solution for lifelong learning that will enable them to achieve their personal and professional goals,” Porter said.

Cherry Tree’s Role

Cherry Tree was engaged to assist Lindenwood in exploring a potential acquisition to build the reach and impact of the University. Cherry Tree leveraged its experience in the higher education industry, research capabilities, and network to develop a proprietary list of actionable acquisition targets. After completing initial evaluations, Cherry Tree led outreach and assisted Lindenwood in evaluating targets, including financial modeling and due diligence. Cherry Tree then supported the negotiations of the definitive agreements, managed the facilitation of due diligence, and navigated the regulatory environment to ensure a smooth and timely closing.

About Lindenwood University

Founded in 1832, Lindenwood is a dynamic four-year institution dedicated to excellence in higher education. Its historic campus is situated in the heart of Saint Charles, Missouri, a growing community of more than 65,000 just west of St. Louis. Lindenwood offers more than 100-degree programs through values-centered education that lead to the development of the whole person. Lindenwood is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is known nationally and internationally for innovation, entrepreneurship, and extraordinary dedication to students.

About Dorsey College

The Dorsey School was founded by Ruth Dorsey in 1934 and was located in downtown Detroit. Today, Dorsey College, remains committed to providing quality career training that prepares individuals for promising career opportunities in fields such as healthcare, nursing, culinary, beauty, skilled trades, and emergency medical services at various campus locations in Michigan. Dorsey College is accredited by the Commission of the Council on Occupational Education. This applies to the Madison Heights campus (which serves as the main campus) and the Dearborn, Grand Rapids, Roseville, Saginaw, Woodhaven, and Wayne campuses (which are branch campus locations of Madison Heights).

Cherry Tree & Associates provides investment banking services through our FINRA-licensed broker dealer.

DISCLOSURES
FINRA
SIPC

Cherry Tree Advises xSEL Labs on its Sale to 7 Mindsets

Cherry Tree Advises xSEL Labs on its Sale to 7 Mindsets

xSEL Labs

Cherry Tree Advises xSEL Labs on its Sale to 7 Mindsets

“The Cherry Tree team provided the advice, counsel, and support we needed during the sale process. They were involved throughout diligence and negotiations, helping us get the right deal closed with the right partner. Their hard work, expertise and leadership were integral to our successful outcome.”

— Clark McKown, xSEL Labs Founder and President

INDUSTRY:
K-12 Education, EdTech
DESCRIPTION:
Research-based social and emotional learning (SEL) assessments for K-12 schools
HQ LOCATION:
Evanston, IL
TRANSACTION TYPE:
Sale to PE-Backed Strategic Buyer

Transaction

xSEL Labs announced that it has been acquired by 7 Mindsets, a portfolio company of Gauge Capital. xSEL Labs’ core assessments directly measure students’ social and emotional learning strengths and needs, helping educators decide what to teach to whom, and measure student learning in response to instruction. The acquisition strengthens 7 Mindsets’ offering of high-quality, multi-tiered SEL instruction and assessment supporting teaching, learning, and student success.

“This is an exciting milestone for xSEL Labs,” said company Founder and President Clark McKown. “We believe in 7 Mindsets’ vision for bringing together Tier I instruction, Tier II and Tier III intervention, and assessment. Having 7 Mindsets, BASE, and xSEL Labs under one roof, we can offer fantastic assessment and instructional resources individually or together in ways that flexibly meet the needs of our district partners.”

xSEL marks 7 Mindsets’ third acquisition since Gauge’s investment in December 2021. In addition to the acquisition of BASE Education earlier in 2023, 7 Mindsets acquired the Better Together adult SEL program in August 2022.

Cherry Tree’s Role:

Cherry Tree was engaged to advise xSEL Labs and its shareholders on the completion of its transaction with 7 Mindsets. The objectives were to maximize shareholder value and terms of a transaction, while managing an efficient closing process. Cherry Tree’s role included negotiating terms, supporting due diligence, and facilitating the closing of a transaction. It was especially important to the shareholders and management team that the process was well planned and efficiently executed, to not disrupt the core business operations, and to complete the transaction in a timely manner.

About xSEL Labs

xSEL Labs partners with K-12 schools and districts across the country to assess and address social and emotional learning (SEL) outcomes. xSEL Labs’ core assessment, SELweb, is a reliable and easy-to-use direct assessment of the social and emotional competencies that are reflected in the CASEL framework, state standards, and evidence-based SEL programs. For more information, please visit www.xsel-labs.com.

About 7 Mindsets

Founded in 2009, 7 Mindsets is a comprehensive social-emotional learning and mental health solution provider for schools and districts across the country, offering high-quality, multi-tiered SEL instruction that supports teaching, learning, and student success. The company’s flexible and highly effective programs have been shown to improve student engagement, behavior, and academic success, and have been used by over 5 million students and educators in all 50 states. For more information, please visit www.7mindsets.com.

About Cherry Tree & Associates

Cherry Tree & Associates is a private investment banking firm headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Founded in 1980, it specializes in M&A transactions for both buyers and sellers of middle market companies. Additionally, it conducts private placements for attractive, entrepreneurially managed growth companies, provides strategic advisory services to CEOs and boards of directors, and prepares fairness opinions and other valuation services.

Cherry Tree & Associates provides investment banking services through our FINRA-licensed broker dealer.

DISCLOSURES
FINRA
SIPC

Cherry Tree Advises Concorde Career Colleges on its Sale to Universal Technical Institute

Cherry Tree Advises Concorde Career Colleges on its Sale to Universal Technical Institute

Concorde Career Colleges

Cherry Tree Advises Concorde Career Colleges on its Sale to Universal Technical Institute

“Much thanks to Mike Buttry and the entire team at Cherry Tree. The Title IV post-secondary sector presents many hurdles to investment transactions. Without the expertise, discipline, diligence, and energy of the Cherry Tree team, we might never have completed the sale of Concorde to UTI. Great job!”

— Tim Foster, Chairman, Concorde Education

INDUSTRY:
Higher Education
DESCRIPTION:
Provider of blended, healthcare education programs serving 7,400+ students across 17 campuses in 8 states
LOCATION:
Mission, KS
TRANSACTION TYPE:
100% Sale to a Publicly Traded For-Profit, Higher Education Company

Transaction Overview

In May 2022, Concorde Career Colleges, a leading provider of healthcare education programs, announced it entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Universal Technical Institute, a leading provider of transportation and technical training programs, for $50 million. The transaction was completed in December 2022.

Founded in 1968 and based in Mission, KS, Concorde’s blended education model (online coursework with in-person labs classes and clinical experiences) offers diploma and degree programs across nursing, dental hygiene, and other direct patient care fields, as well as allied health including medical and dental assisting and healthcare administration. The Company serves approximately 7,400 students through its 17 campuses in 8 states and reported $180 million in revenue and $13 million in Adjusted EBITDA for calendar year 2021. The schools operated by Concorde Career Colleges are accredited by either the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) or the Council on Occupational Education (COE).
With the addition of the Concorde brand and its portfolio of programs and campuses, Universal Technical Institute will significantly expand upon its already announced growth and diversification plans. Upon completion of the Concorde acquisition, UTI will serve over 20,000 students across 14 states and 31 locations.

“Universal Technical Institute’s brands have a great reputation with both employers and students in transportation and skilled trades. Concorde Career Colleges has a strong reputation in healthcare education, making this an excellent combination for addressing the nation’s skills gap,” said Concorde CEO Jami Frazier. “I am looking forward to the opportunity to join this organization and become one of the preeminent educational providers in the country.”

“The acquisition of Concorde Career Colleges will be a significant next step in our previously announced growth and diversification strategy,” said Universal Technical Institute CEO Jerome Grant. “We take the responsibility of becoming one of this country’s leading workforce solutions providers seriously, and entering the healthcare space allows us to help even more students and support employers as they seek to solve some of their toughest workforce-related challenges.”

Cherry Tree’s Role

Cherry Tree was engaged to assist Concorde, its board of directors and shareholders in exploring a sale of the business. The Cherry Tree team leveraged its education experience and network of potential buyers to create a competitive sale process that resulted in a favorable outcome for the shareholders, employees, and its students. Cherry Tree’s customized process included introductions and discussions with numerous potential acquirers in marketing the opportunity, soliciting proposals, negotiating terms, supporting due diligence, and facilitating the closing of the transaction. And with our client being a regulated business from the U.S. Department of Education, navigating and advising smoothly through a complicated transaction was essential.

About Concorde Career Colleges:

Concorde Career Colleges operates 17 campuses across eight states under the brands Concorde Career College and Concorde Career Institute, focused on preparing America’s next generation of health care and dental professionals for rewarding careers. The Concorde Career Colleges blended education model combines online coursework with in-person lab classes and clinical experiences. Concorde Career Colleges’ 20 student-focused academic programs and personalized support prepare graduates for in-demand careers in nursing, dental, respiratory, diagnostic, and other health care roles. The schools operated by Concorde Career Colleges are accredited by either the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) or the Council on Occupational Education (COE). www.concorde.edu

About Universal Technical Institutes:

Founded in 1965 and headquartered in Phoenix, Universal Technical Institute’s (NYSE: UTI) mission is to serve our students, partners, and communities by providing quality education and support services for in-demand careers. Approximately 250,000 students have graduated from one of Universal Technical Institute’s 14 campuses located across Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Texas. Universal Technical Institute’s campuses are accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC), while its employer-aligned technical training programs are offered under four brands: Universal Technical Institute, Motorcycle Mechanics Institute / Marine Mechanics Institute, NASCAR Technical Institute, and MIAT College of Technology. www.uti.edu

About Cherry Tree & Associates

Cherry Tree & Associates is a private investment banking firm headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Founded in 1980, it specializes in M&A transactions for both buyers and sellers of middle market companies. Additionally, it conducts private placements for high quality, entrepreneurially managed growth companies, provides strategic advisory services for CEOs and boards of directors, and prepares fairness opinions and other valuation services. For more information, please visit: www.cherrytree.com.

Cherry Tree & Associates provides investment banking services through our FINRA-licensed broker dealer.

DISCLOSURES
FINRA
SIPC