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L.A. Investment Firm Buys Stake in Educational Products Maker

In $60-million equity deal, William E. Simon will merge its marketer of K-8 items for schools with EarlyChildhood.com.

May 28, 1999|DEBORA VRANA

Los Angeles investment firm William E. Simon & Sons said Thursday that it has taken an estimated $60-million equity stake in EarlyChildhood.com, a Salinas-based maker and marketer of early-childhood developmental projects.

As part of the deal, William E. Simon will merge EarlyChildhood.com with Educational Projects, a Dallas-based marketer of K-8 products for schools, which it also owns. Founded in 1985, EarlyChildhood.com sells products under the brand name Discount School Supply.

"The education sector is a new focus for [our] firm, and our research indicates that it is a prime industry for additional investment opportunity," said William Simon Jr., executive director. "We believe that we can build EarlyChildhood.com into an industry-leading company."

William E. Simon & Sons is a private investment firm formed in 1988 by former U.S. Treasury Secretary William E. Simon and his sons, William E. Simon Jr. and J. Peter Simon. The firm's private equity fund has stakes in 14 companies that total more than $300 million.

Those companies include Pacific Coin, a Van Nuys-based operator of pay telephones; PBOC Holdings, a bank holding company in Los Angeles; Wyle Laboratories, an El Segundo firm that develops testing services for the defense industry; Do-Able Products, a Chino-based maker of ready-to-assemble furniture; and GeoLogistics, a Golden, Colo.-based cargo mover formerly known as International Logistics Ltd.

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