Vistage Partners with Gridiron Capital to Accelerate Growth and Expansion Worldwide
Peer advisory firm seeks to build upon 65 years of helping CEOs make better decisions
SAN DIEGO & NEW CANAAN, Conn. – June 8, 2022 – Vistage Worldwide, Inc. (“Vistage” or “the Company”), the world’s largest CEO coaching and peer advisory organization for small and midsize businesses (SMB), today announced that its management team has partnered with Gridiron Capital (“Gridiron”), an investment firm focused on partnering with founders, entrepreneurs, and management teams, to acquire the Company from Providence Equity Partners (“Providence”). Members of Vistage’s executive management team have also invested in the Company alongside Gridiron, underscoring their confidence in and commitment to Vistage’s continued success. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Since 1957, Vistage has been bringing together groups of high-performing CEOs through a proven leadership experience that delivers results both personally and professionally. When leaders come together in their confidential Vistage private advisory group meetings, they gain the perspective, clarity and support to help them become better leaders and accelerate their company’s growth. More than 27,000 Vistage members worldwide also have access to expert speakers, personalized coaching sessions, and international networking. Under the guidance of their Chair – an accomplished former CEO dedicated to helping others grow – members come together to share expertise, challenge one another to think critically and arrive at better decisions.
Sam Reese, CEO of Vistage, commented, “We are pleased with the growth Vistage has experienced in partnership with Providence Equity Partners. SMB leaders today are facing greater challenges than ever before, and we look forward to working with Gridiron Capital to expand our reach and serve the growing needs of more CEOs around the world, helping them become better leaders, make better decisions and deliver better results. The Gridiron team has extensive experience in the small business sector and fully appreciates the support and services that we provide to CEOs. Under the new partnership, Vistage will maintain its strong culture, operating principles, and purpose of helping high-integrity leaders make great decisions for their companies, families, and communities.”
Tom Burger, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Gridiron, said, “Gridiron is managed by partners who grew up working in and leading family-owned businesses, so we have a unique appreciation for the value that Vistage provides to CEOs and executives. We look forward to partnering with this exceptional management team and leveraging our firm’s Centers of Excellence to maximize the Company’s potential and reach.”
“Gridiron Capital has relevant experience and a track record of success investing in professional training and human capital management businesses, two of the firm’s thematic areas of expertise. Our unique perspective will enable Gridiron to support and accelerate the Company’s growth trajectory across the globe,” said Will Hausberg, Senior Managing Director of Gridiron.
David Phillips, Senior Managing Director at Providence, said, “We thank Vistage for a successful partnership over the past four years and are pleased to have supported the Company in advancing its mission, growing its membership and enhancing the value of its programs for global CEOs and business leaders. We are confident that Vistage will continue to thrive under Gridiron’s ownership and wish Sam Reese and the entire team continued momentum and success as the Company enters this next chapter.”
The transaction is expected to close in July and is subject to customary closing conditions.
Macquarie Capital served as financial advisor to Providence Equity and Vistage; Ropes & Gray along with Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth served as legal counsel. Truist Securities served as financial advisor and Finn, Dixon & Herling LLP served as legal counsel to Gridiron.
About Vistage Worldwide, Inc.
Vistage is the world’s largest CEO coaching and peer advisory organization for small and midsize businesses. For more than 60 years, we’ve been helping CEOs, business owners and key executives solve their greatest challenges through confidential peer groups and one-to-one executive coaching sessions. Today, more than 27,000 members in 26 countries rely on Vistage to help make better decisions for their companies, families and communities. The results prove it: A 2017 study of Dun & Bradstreet data revealed that companies who joined Vistage over the prior five years grew 2.2x faster than average small and medium-sized U.S. businesses. A similar study of D&B data in 2020 revealed that Vistage CEO members weathered the pandemic by continuing to grow their annual revenue on average by 4.6%, while nonmembers with comparable small and midsize businesses saw revenue decrease by 4.7%. Learn more at vistage.com.
About Gridiron Capital
Gridiron Capital is an investment firm focused on partnering with founders, entrepreneurs, and management teams and creating value by building middle-market companies into industry-leaders in branded consumer, B2B and B2C services, and niche industrial segments in the United States and Canada. They help transform growing companies by winning together through hard work, partnerships grounded in shared values, and a unique culture that comes from hands-on experience building and running businesses. As a team led by former operators and entrepreneurs, we know what it takes to run successful businesses on a day-to-day basis. Additional information is available on the firm’s website: gridironcapital.com.
About Providence Equity Partners
Providence Equity Partners is a specialist private equity investment firm focused on growth-oriented media, communications, education, and technology companies across North America and Europe. Providence combines its partnership approach to investing with deep industry expertise to help management teams build exceptional businesses and generate attractive returns.
Since its founding in 1989, Providence has invested over $31 billion across more than 170 private equity portfolio companies. With its headquarters in Providence, RI, the firm also has offices in New York, London, Boston and Atlanta. For more information, please visit provequity.com.
Katie McWeeney | Vistage
858.523.6875 | [email protected]
Jon Keehner/Erik Carlson
Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher
Providence Equity Partners
Hayley Cook/Kate Gorgi/Ethan Hunter
Sard Verbinnen & Co.