PlattForm Holdings, Inc., a leading Internet marketing and enrollment solutions provider to the post-secondary education industry, today announced the acquisitions of VentureDirect Worldwide, Inc. and Zuma, LLC. VentureDirect has been a leading marketing services firm for 25 years, providing lead generation and customer acquisition services to advertisers along with list brokerage and management services for publishers and list buyers. Zuma is the publisher of BeautySchoolsDirectory.com, a recruitment and enrollment lead generation company for the cosmetology school industry. These two acquisitions substantially increase PlattForm’s scale, resulting in the new entity having over $175 million in gross revenue.
Acquiring VentureDirect and Zuma vastly expands the service capabilities available to PlattForm’s clients within the post-secondary education sector. The acquisitions also enable PlattForm to expand its online lead generation services to new industry verticals, such as franchise, health and home improvement.
“Merging the three companies helps us to solidify our leadership position in post-secondary education, as we are now working for over 3,400 schools,” said Michael Platt, CEO of PlattForm. “These acquisitions allow us to take the concept of ‘full-service’ to another level for our clients, as well as provide the resources to expand our interactive lead generation capabilities. Both companies also diversify our revenue stream by bringing on a number of new education clients and non-education clients from industries such as consumer products, financial services, health, franchise marketing, home improvement, business services and travel.”
Rich Baumer, the President of VentureDirect and a continuing shareholder in the combined company, said, “We have been impressed with PlattForm’s performance in the market, and we are looking forward to partnering with them and providing additional value-added services to our customers, both in the education sector and in several other core industry verticals.” Baumer and his senior management team will continue to lead the New York-based VentureDirect subsidiary of PlattForm.
Uri Silberstein, President of Zuma, said, “We are extremely excited about combining forces with PlattForm because it gives our customers the ability to implement and track marketing across all media with the same level of tracking accuracy they now get with Beauty Schools Directory leads. Many of our clients have been telling us they want to do this, and we are pleased to tell them that we now offer those services.”
The combined entity further enables PlattForm to offer a full suite of enrollment solutions to its clients, including online lead generation, search engine optimization, paid-inclusion placement, affiliate marketing, email and postal list services, interactive lead management, web site design and development, custom publishing, public relations, contact center solutions, creative services and traditional media placement.
With these two acquisitions, PlattForm now has hundreds of lead generation websites. The acquisitions enable PlattForm to provide more than double the number of proprietary leads for customers of all three divisions.
PlattForm is a portfolio company of Arlington Capital Partners, a Washington, DC-based private equity firm.
“The team at PlattForm is positioned to continue its significant growth and we are excited to support them in this effort,” said Jeffrey Freed of Arlington Capital Partners. “In addition, we are pleased to be adding VentureDirect’s management expertise and service offerings, as well as the new cosmetology vertical supported by Zuma.”
John Bates of Arlington Capital Partners said, “We believe that Internet lead generation, which comprises the majority of PlattForm’s revenue, represents an attractive area for investment. With these two acquisitions, PlattForm becomes a much stronger player in Internet lead generation with a more diverse revenue stream and additional service offerings. We will continue to seek additional acquisitions for the company to further strengthen its interactive marketing capabilities.”
In addition to the continued equity support provided by Arlington Capital Partners, debt financing for the transaction was arranged by LaSalle Bank, N.A. as Lead Agent with CIT Group, Inc. acting as Syndication Agent. VentureDirect was represented by The Jordan, Edmiston Group, Inc., a New York City-based investment bank that specializes in the media and information industries. Zuma was represented by DeSilva + Phillips, a New York-based investment bank specializing in the media and digital media industries.
About PlattForm Holdings
PlattForm Holdings, Inc. is a leading interactive marketing and enrollment solutions provider to the post-secondary education industry. With over 450 employees in offices in Olathe, Kansas; New York City; Kansas City, Missouri; Pineville, North Carolina; and Winthrop, Washington, PlattForm provides interactive marketing and enrollment solutions including media placement services for the television, print and radio markets; creative and production; direct mail services; public relations; and contact center services, with particular industry expertise in the post-secondary education sector. In addition, through its newly acquired VentureDirect subsidiary, PlattForm also offers marketing services to the consumer products, financial services, health, franchise marketing, home improvement, business services and travel, as well as post-secondary education.
About Arlington Capital Partners
Arlington Capital Partners is a Washington, DC-based private equity fund with over $1 billion of committed capital focused on middle market buyout investment opportunities in growth industries, including education and training, business services and outsourcing, aerospace/defense, IT and engineering services, media, healthcare services, and specialized manufacturing and related industries. The firm’s professionals have a unique combination of operating and private equity experience that enables Arlington to be a value-added investor. Arlington invests in companies in partnership with high quality management teams that are motivated to establish and/or advance their company’s position as leading competitors in their field.
SOURCE: PlattForm Holdings, Inc., VentureDirect Worldwide, Inc., and Arlington Capital Partners