Transaction Experience

Bigelow Advises Reading Plus on its Recapitalization by Sterling Partners’ Education Opportunity Fund

Taylor Associates Communications, Inc. (DBA ‘Reading Plus®’) announced it has been recapitalized by Sterling Partners’ Education Opportunity Fund (‘EOF’).  Reading Plus is an adaptive literacy intervention and practice tool for grades 3-12.  EOF is a fund focused on partnering with purpose-driven companies and leaders who foster innovation within the education sector.  This transaction is the successful culmination of an initiative led by Bigelow LLC.

Headquartered in Vermont, Reading Plus (www.readingplus.com) helps students develop the fluency, comprehension, and motivation needed to be successful readers. Company founder and CEO Mark Taylor developed the product with guidance from a team of leading reading researchers. Reading Plus assesses efficiency, and also measures and increases motivation and comprehension. The program allows students to practice at their own pace and uses adaptive technology in a truly meaningful way.  It is the first—and only—program to assess and address all three domains of reading proficiency. To date, the millions of students using Reading Plus have gained an average of two grade levels of proficiency with 40 hours of use. Taylor will move to the new role of Executive Chairman of the Board where he will continue to provide counsel on strategy.

“We are thrilled to join forces with EOF. Working with EOF allows us to reach even more students with our best-in-class product and to empower students of all abilities with reading proficiency. We want to instill in every student a love of reading.” Mark Taylor, CEO Reading Plus

Headquartered in Chicago, Sterling Partners (www.educationfund.sterlingpartners.com) is a diversified investment management firm committed to building high-quality companies.  EOF, Sterling’s eighth private equity fund was launched in partnership with Strada Education Network in April 2015. The Fund's objective is to invest in purpose-driven companies and partner with high-performing leaders who are taking an innovative approach to transforming the education landscape.  Steven Guttentag, Ph.D., will assume the role of Reading Plus’ Chief Executive Officer.   “I am extremely excited to partner with Mark and the Reading Plus team,” said Guttentag. “Reading Plus checks every box for me. The company has a great culture, a differentiated product rooted in results, strong channel partners, and an opportunity to impact millions of students by improving their reading skills.”

“Mission-driven, culture-focused, and passionate companies like Reading Plus embody the spirit and inception of EOF. We are excited to work with Mark and his team to ensure their best-in-class product reaches its full potential for growth and impact in the United States and abroad. ” Jason Rosenberg, Managing Director Sterling Partners' Education Opportunity Fund

Originally established in 1935, Bigelow LLC (www.bigelowllc.com) is an independently owned M+A advisory boutique with a singular and passionate focus: entrepreneur owner-managed businesses. Bigelow has a reputation for having a unique understanding of the special requirements of the owner-managed, entrepreneurial operating company in building, and ultimately capturing Enterprise Value.

Winooski, Vermont

has been recapitalized by

Chicago, Illinois

The undersigned initiated this transaction and acted as M+A Advisor to
Taylor Associates Communications, Inc.