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Invited Sells Stadium Clubs Business to Oak View Group

Plus: Unleashed Brands acquires education service Sylvan Learning, Financial Benefits Services rebrands as Higginbotham Public Sector, and more.
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The Texas Tech Club at Texas Tech University, formerly owned by Invited. Invited

Dallas-based owner and operator of private golf, country, and city clubs, Invited, formerly known as ClubCorp, sold its University Stadium Club division to hospitality venue manager Oak View Group. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but this latest divestiture comes on the heels of Invited selling its entertainment business, BigShots, for $29 million to Topgolf.

The company’s Stadium Club division’s properties include locations at Baylor, Texas Tech, the University of Arizona, the University of Utah, Virginia Tech, and the University of North Carolina.  

“Invited’s University Stadium Club division has been a source of great pride for the company and through the years we’ve cherished the opportunity to provide an exceptional experience for our members, their families and friends,” Invited CEO David Pillsbury said. “After many discussions and to ensure a strong and viable future, we’ve decided to sell the stadium club line of business to Oak View Group. Together, we’ll ensure a seamless transition and Invited will stay involved by partnering on offerings in the future.” 

Oak View group has more than 300 venues across the globe and manages Fair Park and the Kay Bailey Hutchison Center in Dallas.

Private club management and employees will stay in their current roles at all locations.

Unleashed Brands Acquires Education Service Sylvan Learning

Unleashed Brands, a Dallas-based company building a portfolio of youth entertainment and learning centers, has announced the acquisition of Sylvan Learning, an education service for K-12 students with 500 franchise locations across the country.

Unleashed Brands, which now has seven businesses in its portfolio, has garnered a valuation of more than $1 billion. In 2023, the company reported north of $806 million in revenue and accumulated more than 25 million visits to its brands’ 860 franchise locations.

“The acquisition of Sylvan Learning is the sixth strategic acquisition Unleashed Brands is making into the youth enrichment market, further expanding our reach into the education segment. The addition of Sylvan Learning aligns perfectly with Unleashed Brands’ goal to provide top-notch opportunities to help kids learn, play and grow from birth until they leave the home and go to college or the working world,” said Michael Browning, founder and CEO of Unleashed Brands. 

Sylvan Leaning has been in business for 45 years. The company offers tutoring services for all subject matters, college prep, STEM, and more. Unleashed Brands will function as the parent company of Sylvan Learning. Unleashed Brands portfolio companies also include Class 101, XP League, Premier Martial Arts, Snapology, The Little Gym, and Urban Air Adventure Park.  

“Unleashed Brands’ mission and goals for growth align perfectly with what we’re looking to achieve for Sylvan Learning and, based on its past success in growing complementary portfolio brands, I’m confident we’ll be able to do the same, reaching even more students and allowing them to achieve their goals for a brighter future,” said John McAuliffe, CEO of Sylvan Learning. “Sylvan looks forward to leveraging Unleashed Brands’ strategic resources and technology infrastructure in an effort to reach a broader audience, while continuing to provide the expert services and support our students expect to help them find their greatness.”  

Employee Benefits Firm FBS Rebrands as Higginbotham After 2-year Partnership

Financial Benefit Services, an independent employee benefits firm based in Richardson, has rebranded as Higginbotham Public Sector. The rebranding comes after a two-year partnership with insurance, financial, and HR services firm Higginbotham—which has grown its revenue by at least 20 percent year-over-year for three straight decades.

“We are thrilled to bring FBS fully under the Higginbotham brand umbrella as Higginbotham Public Sector,” Higginbotham Chairman and CEO Rusty Reid said. “FBS is the leading benefits broker for public schools in Texas, and they built that market by offering specialized services and technological innovations that other brokers just don’t have. For the last two years, our firms have joined forces to serve both the benefits and commercial insurance needs of that market. Now under the Higginbotham name, that synergy can expand beyond our state’s borders.” 

For more than 30 years, FBS has advised clients through benefit consulting, administration, and online enrollment services. Fort Worth-based Higginbotham was established in 1948 and has grown to 2,500 employees at 90 offices in 15 states. Higginbotham is the nation’s 21st largest independent insurance brokerage in terms of revenue. 

 “We have years of experience on the public sector side and creative tools that no one else is using like a proprietary online enrollment system, a smartphone app that’s tied to the platform, text notifications, and a range of engagement and educational features,” said FBS Managing Partner Kyle James. “Now that we’re Higginbotham Public Sector, we can go into Higginbotham offices in all these other states and show people what made us so successful in Texas and what we can do in their public sector markets as well.” 

PR Group BizCom Associates Adds Marketing Firm Brand J to its Porfolio 

PR agency BizCom Associates, has acquired franchise marketing firm Brand J. There are no planned staff changes for Brand J, and founder Thomas Scott will remain the company’s leader.

“The result is that two of franchising’s leading PR, lead-generation, and development marketing agencies are joining forces to create franchising’s premier marketing firm,” said BizCom CEO Scott White, who co-founded BizCom in 1999 with COO Monica Feid. “Brand J is one of the most respected marketing agencies in franchising with a long history of delivering exceptional results for their clients and we are very excited to have them become a part of the BizCom family.” 

Brand J has been ranked by Entrepreneur magazine as a top industry supplier four times and has helped scale more than 400 franchise systems. Brand J has worked to recruit over 12,000 franchisees to its client list.

“We’ve worked alongside BizCom for decades and together we’ve helped grow some of the most iconic franchise brands in the industry,” said Thomas Scott, founder of Brand J. “There are a lot of PE acquisitions in the franchise industry today and both firms want to remain privately held and committed to growing sustainable, responsible franchise systems. This merger helps us stand out as a supplier of choice in a rapidly growing industry.” 

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Celie Price

Celie Price

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