HARRISBURG, Pa.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Stronger Youth Brands, a youth sports and enrichment platform, today announced the acquisition of Little Kickers, an international franchisor of youth soccer programs based in the United Kingdom. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Stronger Youth Brands is a growing youth enrichment platform providing developmentally appropriate and character growth experiences in partnership with childcare centers, schools, and other public locations. The company, backed by Susquehanna Private Capital (“SPC”), a middle market private equity firm, was launched in January 2022 with SPC’s platform investment in Soccer Shots, a leading youth soccer franchisor. Stronger Youth Brands is led by Soccer Shots’ veteran management team, including Chief Executive Officer Justin Bredeman, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, Jason Webb and President, Kevin Stumpf.
Established in 2002 by Founder and Chairman Christine Kelly and led by CEO Alan Kennedy, Little Kickers currently operates in 340 territories geographically dispersed across the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and other countries. This acquisition creates the largest global franchised youth soccer platform, with over 400 franchisees and 600 territories across 30 countries. Little Kickers will continue to operate as a standalone brand and gain access to additional resources to further its growth trajectory as part of Stronger Youth Brands.
Justin Bredeman, commented, “We are thrilled to welcome Little Kickers into our growing family of leading youth enrichment franchisors. Christine, Alan, and the Little Kickers team have built an outstanding, loyal franchise system with a primary focus on creating a healthy growth experience for every child through sports, fun, and developmentally appropriate curriculum. We look forward to leveraging their scale and expertise as we continue to expand Stronger Youth Brands.”
Jason Webb, added, “We will work closely with the Little Kickers team and are excited to leverage their deep expertise managing international operations while contributing our broader infrastructure and resources at Stronger Youth Brands.”
Christine Kelly, said, “We are pleased to join Stronger Youth Brands, whose impressive growth in franchised sports programs and devotion to youth enrichment are powerful complements to Little Kickers. We have known the Soccer Shots team for years and share a common ethos. We are confident that Little Kickers will continue to thrive and further its legacy as part of the platform.”
Alan Kennedy, continued, “Stronger Youth Brands shares our deep-seated belief in the power of harnessing creative, high energy, and age-appropriate enrichment to help develop a child’s social, emotional, and cognitive skills. We are eager to watch both brands combine their resources to further build out youth enrichment programs geared towards this important mission.”
Ernst & Young Orenda Corporate Finance Inc. acted as exclusive financial advisor and Fasken served as legal advisor to Little Kickers. Stikeman Elliott, Marriott Harrison, and Troutman Pepper served as legal advisors to Stronger Youth Brands.
About Stronger Youth Brands
Stronger Youth Brands is a growing, global youth enrichment franchisor providing developmentally appropriate and character growth experiences for children ages 18 months to eight years old through its two branded concepts, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania-based Soccer Shots and United Kingdom-based Little Kickers. Launched in January 2022 with backing from Susquehanna Private Capital, Stronger Youth Brands is actively pursuing partnerships with complementary, youth enrichment franchisors focused on sports, music, S.T.E.M., tutoring, arts, cooking, and other youth enrichment categories.
About Susquehanna Private Capital
Susquehanna Private Capital was founded in 2016 and is funded by the founders of Susquehanna International Group, LLP, one of the world’s largest privately held financial services firms. With its flexible approach to investing, SPC partners with founders, entrepreneurs, and operators to build businesses with enduring value. SPC targets companies in the business, consumer and franchise services sectors with $3 million to $20 million in EBITDA.