Significant Debt Reduction and New Equity Investment Enhance LEARFIELD’s Ability to Continue Serving as a Longstanding Partner for Universities, Entertainment Partners, Brands, and Fans
LEARFIELD (or the “Company”), a leading media and technology company powering college athletics, today announced that it has closed on a comprehensive deleveraging transaction with its lenders and equity partners. Through this transaction, LEARFIELD has reduced its outstanding debt by over $600 million and secured $150 million in new equity investment, strengthening the Company’s financial position and providing additional capital to fuel innovation and growth across the Company’s five operating divisions, which include LEARFIELD Amplify; CLC; Paciolan; SIDEARM Sports; and its core multimedia rights business.
Under the terms of the deal, LEARFIELD’s majority ownership is now comprised of its lead capital providers, including Clearlake Capital Group, L.P. (together with its affiliates, “Clearlake”), Charlesbank Capital Partners, and funds managed by affiliates of Fortress Investment Group LLC (“Fortress”). The Company’s prior equity holders will retain an equity stake in the Company.
“This is a seminal moment for the LEARFIELD team, and we are thrilled for what lies ahead – both for our company, as well as for the thousands of partners we serve,” said Cole Gahagan, LEARFIELD’s President & Chief Executive Officer. “Over the last several years, LEARFIELD has been a leader in innovation and growth throughout the college sports and entertainment industries, and this reboot of our capital structure only positions us for even greater success in the years to come. We’re just getting started.”
This transaction is the latest transformative initiative implemented by the Company to evolve media and technology in college athletics and position partners for growth. In recent years, LEARFIELD has introduced a host of solutions to the sports and entertainment industries, including Fanbase, a leading data infrastructure platform for college athletics; LEARFIELD Allied, a name, image & likeness (NIL) program that helps brands leverage school IP in student-athlete deals; and LEARFIELD Studios, a growing media and content production group in college sports.
“We are excited to work with Cole and the LEARFIELD leadership team and support their strategic vision,” said James Pade, Partner and Managing Director, Clearlake. “We believe that this transaction, Clearlake’s O.P.S.® resources, and the new capital provided will advance LEARFIELD’s position in college athletics and fuel the Company’s ability to create opportunities for schools and brands to build new communities and experiences for college sports fans.”
“The LEARFIELD team has developed a leadership position in college athletics, with a growing portfolio of solutions for colleges, universities and brand partners,” said Leslee Cowen, Managing Director, Fortress. “This transaction positions the Company to build further on its success to date, bringing new technologies and innovative solutions to a market and fanbase that they understand deeply.”