Osborne Park-based Wooldridges A&M, a major player in the schools supply sector, has become the latest investment for Sydney-based private equity player Fulcrum Capital Partners. Finalised late last year yet still shrouded in secrecy, the deal leaves Wooldridges managing director Tim Majors in charge of the business, which has a dominant position in Western Australia and plans for significant expansion interstate. Mr Majors could not comment on the deal with Fulcrum, however the Fulcrum website outlines its investment in an entity called ESA Holdings Pty Ltd, which has a similar geographic footprint to the successful and long-running Wooldridges business. It said it had provided ESA with funding to assist in the geographic expansion of its business and to implement a capital expenditure program to deliver business efficiencies. "This investment by Fulcrum will allow me to continue to implement my business plan and drive improvements in efficiencies through my existing business," the website quotes Mr Majors. WA Department of Consumer and Employment Protection records show that both Wooldridges and Wooldridges A&M became the business names of Wooldridges Australia Pty Ltd in December last year, which took them over from the Majors' family company, Riversleigh Investments Pty Ltd. Mr Majors is a director of Wooldridge Australia but Australian Securities and Investments Commission records show it is 100 per cent owned by Educational Supplies Australia Pty Ltd, which is owned by ESA Holdings which is, in turn, owned by Fulcrum Capital Partners Fund No. 1 GP Pty Ltd. Fulcrum has a $100 million fund and cites itself as a specialist in both management buy-outs and management buy-ins. Fulcrum claims ESA runs the largest back to school booklist program in the country as well as operating a chain of 11 educational superstores. The business has a team of sales representatives servicing more than 700 schools with stationery, teaching aids, text and educational supply needs. Wooldridges A&M has nine stores in WA, one in the Northern Territory and has plans to open two stores next month in South Australia.
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