Nautic Partners Completes the Majority Recapitalization of ESS in Partnership with The Vistria Group

Providence, RI

Nautic Partners, LLC (“Nautic”) announced today that it has sold majority interest in portfolio company Education Solutions Services (“ESS”) to The Vistria Group, LP (“Vistria”). Nautic Partners will remain a minority shareholder.

Headquartered in Knoxville, TN, ESS is one of the nation’s leading scaled managed services companies dedicated to K-12 outsourced substitute, paraprofessional, and in-classroom virtual teacher solutions. The company acts as the exclusive outsourced substitute teacher management provider to its growing base of client school districts across the country. ESS’s turn-key solutions include its flagship substitute management solution and a growing virtual teacher offering, which provide school districts, substitutes, and students a more sustainable and effective alternative to in-house management. ESS currently serves approximately 900 districts, representing over 4 million students throughout 31 U.S. states.

Bernard Buonanno, Managing Director of Nautic, said, “It has been our pleasure to work with the team at ESS over the last seven years. We are proud to be associated with a company that not only is a leader in its market, but also makes a positive impact on the lives of the students in our communities by helping to ensure that they have reliable, available substitute teachers to provide the best possible educational outcomes. We look forward to our continuing involvement with ESS over the coming years.”

Buddy Helton, President & CEO of ESS, said, “ESS is deeply committed to delivering innovative and dynamic solutions to our partner districts and passionate educators who are out there every day, tirelessly working to improve student outcomes. We are extremely excited for the enhanced resources that will be available to ESS through our partnership with Vistria, and in particular, their experience in the education sector which should enable us to help even more school districts with their HR challenges going forward. We are confident that this new investment strategy will provide a winning formula for the services we offer, leading to the success of students across the country. Nautic has been an incredible partner over the years and we’re thrilled that they will continue to be a part of this journey.”

Philip Alphonse, Senior Partner and co-head of Education at The Vistria Group, said, “We are extremely excited to partner with ESS. We believe our firm’s resources and relationships will be particularly helpful for Buddy and his team. This is a great opportunity to support their growth while also providing positive impact for school districts, students and communities across the country.”

Baird served as lead financial advisor, and Locke Lord LLP acted as legal counsel to ESS and Nautic. Winston & Strawn LLP served as legal counsel to The Vistria Group.

About The Vistria Group

The Vistria Group is a Chicago-based next generation private investment firm that operates at the intersection of purpose and profit. Vistria partners with middle-market businesses in Healthcare, Education and Financial Services that are passionate about growth and committed to the community. Our decision to invest in these areas is driven by our belief in companies producing scalable social value. Vistria’s team is comprised of highly experienced operating partners and investment professionals with proven track records of working with management teams in building innovative, market-leading companies.