Sterling Partners announces exit after years of exceptional student growth and international expansion
CHICAGO, Nov. 7, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Sterling Partners (“Sterling”), a diversified investment management platform, announced today that its portfolio company, School of Rock, was acquired by Youth Enrichment Brands, one of the nation’s leading youth activities platforms. The transaction represents the culmination of Sterling’s years of effort to propel School of Rock into one of the most revolutionary music education concepts in the world.
School of Rock teaches more than 180,000 students annually with over 500 schools open and in development across 15 countries and is the largest music education franchise system in the world. As part of Youth Enrichment Brands, the company will have additional resources and expertise to further scale its year-over-year growth by expanding its existing footprint, entering new markets, and driving same-school productivity.
“Everyone involved in School of Rock – from leadership to instructors – has been singularly focused on enriching students’ lives through music. It has been incredible to be part of such a tremendous mission-based journey,” said Avi Epstein, Managing Director at Sterling Partners. “Its business model is highly differentiated from other franchising models, and with Youth Enrichment as its next partner, there is no shortage of runway for continued growth for years to come. It has been fantastic to collaborate with Rob and the entire School of Rock team. We will be eagerly watching Youth Enrichment Brands and School of Rock and wishing them tremendous success.”
Sterling Partners first invested in School of Rock in 2009. Since then, the company has grown from less than 6,000 students to over 180,000 annually. School of Rock continues to receive exceptionally high franchisee satisfaction and has been honored with numerous prestigious industry awards.
Rob Price, CEO of School of Rock, added, “With Sterling’s support, expertise, and network, we have been able to truly distinguish our results-driven approach to music education. The success we’ve seen with Sterling as our partner has been unmatched, as have the strategies we’ve worked on together to get here. Now, I’m looking forward to the next phase as we build on this momentum and continue to be the ultimate music school for kids and adults.”
Sterling has four decades of experience building high-growth organizations. Beyond capital, it brings great value to its portfolio companies with its entrepreneurial roots, deep industry expertise, focus on transformational growth, and network of world-class leaders.
Sterling and School of Rock were represented by Baird.
About Sterling Partners: Sterling Partners is a diversified investment management platform founded in 1983 and based in Chicago. The firm started with four young entrepreneurs, who went on to build one of Chicago’s most prominent private equity firms. Today, the firm has expanded beyond its strong private equity practice into several other investment strategies. Complementing its institutional fund practice, Sterling invests in a wide variety of companies in various stages of growth – from early-stage, high-growth businesses to mature, profitable companies – on a deal-by-deal basis. These investments cross several industries, and the firm makes control, non-control, and preferred equity investments. Sterling adds value to its portfolio companies and the founders with whom it partners with its entrepreneurial roots, deep domain expertise, focus on transformational growth, and access to world-class executive talent. For more information, please visit www.sterlingpartners.com.
About School of Rock: School of Rock helps aspiring musicians master skills, unleash creativity, and develop tools they need to thrive in life. Founded as a single school in Philadelphia, Pa., in 1998, School of Rock has become a rapidly growing international franchise with over 500 schools open and in development across 15 global markets. School of Rock has grown to serve more than 180,000 students annually. School of Rock has received countless industry awards including: 2023 Global Franchise Grand Champion; 2023, 2022 and 2021 Global Franchise’s Awards Best Children’s Service and Education Franchise; 2023 Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise 500 Top Children’s Music Enrichment Brand; 2021 Franchise Innovation Award for Most Innovative Use of Customer-Facing Digital Tools; Franchise Business Review’s 2023 Top 200 Franchises and Culture 200 list; Franchise Business Review’s 2023 Top Recession-Proof Business; 2020 Entrepreneur Magazine’s Top 200 Franchise and the #1 Child Enrichment Franchise; and 2018 Forbes # 2 Best Franchise Medium-Level Investment Award and the #1 Music Franchise in America.