STREETSBORO, OHIO (Sept 28, 2007)—The Step2 Company, LLC (“Step2″), an American toddler toy company and world’s largest rotational molding manufacturer, designer and marketer of children’s play kitchens, playhouses, outdoor toys and ride on toys, announced today the acquisition by its parent, Step2 Holdings, LLC, of privately owned Infantino, LLC (“Infantino”) headquartered in California. Infantino is a leading designer and marketer of infant toys and accessories with popular lines ranging from classic creative baby toys to next generation baby travel systems, such as soft baby carriers, shopping cart covers, baby supports, puzzles and activity toys. Infantino is recognized for its commitment to classic play and promoting the bond between parent and baby. Together Infantino’s dedicated team and innovative products have earned the brand a major presence with the mass market, specialty and international retailers alike.
Scott Levin, Step2 President and CEO, announced: “Step2 is excited to combine creative teams and resources with Infantino. There are tremendous synergies in shared entrepreneurial cultures, family values and customer focus. Both companies are committed to creating safe and innovative products that promote imaginative play and healthy fun, allowing ‘Babies to be Babies’ and ‘Kids to be Kids.’”
Step2 and Infantino will operate as separate business units, but combine resources to create a natural extension of complementary lines to the preschool category, and to safeguard the high quality standards of each product. In addition, cross merchandising and marketing opportunities for the expanded product lines will create earlier exposure in a child’s life cycle for the Step2® brand than was previously possible. Both brands build off the belief of developmental play as a cornerstone for early childhood education and growth.
Yvonne Marsh, a Senior Managing Director of Liberty Partners, L.P., the majority owner of Step2 further stated, “The acquisition of Infantino is a great investment strategy for future growth by connecting the 0-7 age range and shared customer base. We are delighted to add its marketing flair and product expertise to our investment portfolio.”
Michael Silberstein, Infantino President added: “I’m proud of what Infantino has done to develop our brand through fresh product designs, innovative package design and meaningful customer relationships and am thrilled about the future potential to grow sales along with Step2.”
Step2, based in Streetsboro, Ohio, is the world’s largest rotational molding manufacturer, designer and marketer of children’s and home products sold under the Step2 brand. Known for providing durable, imaginative and active fun, Step2 is a market leader in outdoor toys, playhouses, play kitchens, sand and water play, ride on toys, swing sets, wagons and kid’s furniture; as well as mailboxes, home & garden outdoor furniture and trash cans. Some of the company’s most popular brands are Naturally Playful®, LifeStyle®, MainStreet Village® and MailMaster®. Step2 distributes its toy and home & garden products through multiple retail channels including toy retailers, mass merchants, home centers, and the Internet. www.Step2.com
Infantino, headquartered in San Diego, CA is a leading designer and international distributor of innovative and original infant and toddler products. With fashion true designs, their popular product lines range from classic creative baby toys and puzzles, innovative soft baby carriers and simple, no fuss baby travel systems. The Infantino brand is a major player in the juvenile industry and continues to evolve by staying on top of industry market trends, fashion, unique licensing opportunities and emerging technologies that add value to their products. www.Infantino.com
About Liberty Partners
Liberty Partners, L.P., acquired Step2 in 2006 and specializes in middle-market private equity investments in niche manufacturing, business services, and education-related companies. Since its founding in 1992, the firm has committed over $1 billion to more than 50 investments. Liberty typically seeks to deploy $20 million to $75 million of equity for controlling or substantial-minority positions in North American-based companies through a range of transaction structures—leveraged buyouts, corporate divestitures, recapitalizations, going-privates, build-ups, and growth financings. www.libertypartners.com
Vice President Marketing Communications