Laird Norton Company Increases Investment in Fusion Education Group

Seeks to expand unique “one-to-one” classroom model into national organization

SEATTLE--()--The Laird Norton Company (LNC), a seventh-generation family-owned company headquartered in Seattle, announced today the company’s investment to acquire majority ownership of Fusion Education Group, a 20-campus private education company that provides one student-one teacher classrooms customized to the needs of each student. From a single school in 2010, Fusion has grown to 20 campuses in California, New York, and New Jersey. The company has plans for expansion including two new locations in Texas in the fall of 2014.

“As we pursue our vision of building a national organization, we will have the opportunity to positively impact thousands of students through our unique one student-one teacher approach that allows for complete customization of the student experience,” said Peter Ruppert, Fusion Education Group CEO. “Fusion invests heavily in art and music programs. Each campus is equipped with a state-of-the-art recording studio and a full mixed-media art studio. Students can set their own schedules around other commitments; any time of day and into the evening. All homework is completed on campus, under teacher supervision, before students leave for the day,” Ruppert said.

Jeff Vincent, CEO of LNC, described the company’s continued investment in Fusion as a way to further expand Laird Norton’s partnership with Fusion’s management and Winona Capital Management. Vincent, the former chair of the Washington State Board of Education, said LNC is committed to expanding the one student-one teacher educational concept. “Fusion is a transformative educational experience for students who learn best in a highly customized environment. We believe that there is a strong need for this approach and a strong opportunity for growth,” Vincent said.

Financial details of the Fusion transaction were not disclosed.

The Laird Norton Company invests in companies directly or in partnership with investment partners such as Winona Capital Management and Northern Lights Capital Group. Its current direct holdings include WHV Investment Management, Laird Norton Wealth Management and Fusion Education Group. LNC continues to seek direct investment opportunities in lower middle market companies in the Western United States, Midwest and Western Canada, particularly in the consumer and building materials sectors and in companies for whom sustainability is a central focus. In addition, LNC invests in commercial real estate through Laird Norton Properties, focusing on the Seattle, Portland, Denver and Salt Lake City markets.

About LNC: Laird Norton Company is a 160-year-old family-owned diversified holding company headquartered in Seattle, WA. It is a long-term investor in private companies and real estate that seeks to partner with management teams and other investors to grow companies in sectors including consumer, building materials and asset management.

About FUSION: Headquartered in Grand Rapids, MI, Fusion operates revolutionary private middle and high schools that offer individualized education. Each classroom has just one student and one teacher, allowing a personalized approach to each student’s unique emotional and academic needs. Fusion operates 20 campuses in California, New York and New Jersey and, coming soon, Texas.

About LAIRD NORTON PROPERTIES: Laird Norton Properties is a Seattle-based real estate investment company that owns and operates a large portfolio of light industrial, office and mixed-use properties. It was formed in 2006 and is the largest investment of Laird Norton Company, with holdings of more than $350 million distributed throughout the Midwest and Western United States. Since 2006, Laird Norton Properties has transformed its portfolio substantially through dispositions and acquisitions. Laird Norton Properties targets attractive risk adjusted returns across the risk spectrum from core real estate to ground up development.

Contacts

Laird Norton Company
Brian McGuigan, 206-501-4518
or
Laird Norton Properties
Jenny TeStrake, 206-501-4520
or
Fusion
Jeff Poole, 616-301-1221 ext. 26

Release Summary

The Laird Norton Company (LNC), a 7th-generation company headquartered in Seattle, announced today the company’s investment to acquire majority ownership of Fusion Education Group.

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Contacts

Laird Norton Company
Brian McGuigan, 206-501-4518
or
Laird Norton Properties
Jenny TeStrake, 206-501-4520
or
Fusion
Jeff Poole, 616-301-1221 ext. 26