Secures New Financing from Existing Owners and Certain Lenders to Support Business Plan
Company Continues Payments of Customer Refunds and Vendors
Preparation for the Return to Travel Underway, as Domestic and International Regulations Allow
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia – July 21, 2020 – Lakeland Tours, LLC, d/b/a WorldStrides (“WorldStrides”) today announced that it has agreed to a comprehensive recapitalization with its principal shareholders and certain lenders. This agreement is expected to reduce the company’s debt and provide access to significant new financing, which will support its business plan going forward, including navigating the COVID-19 pandemic.
This recapitalization will ensure that WorldStrides continues to operate during the challenging COVID-19 environment and beyond. The company expects to continue paying active employee salaries. Vendors, and other partners are expected to be paid in full in the ordinary course of business. The company also intends to continue paying customer refunds and there is no anticipated impact to the timing of refunds or the status of future trips that are currently scheduled. WorldStrides continues to work with its Program Leaders to reschedule programs based on the current health situation on a case-by-case basis.
Robert Gogel, President and Chief Executive Officer of WorldStrides, stated: “Our industry has been at a standstill due to the pandemic. We were on track to deliver record-level business activity across many of our brands, but COVID-19 has had a significant impact. Nevertheless, both our owners and our lenders continue to believe in the long-term opportunity for WorldStrides, and they are now reinvesting in our future. As a result, we will have significant new financing, reduced debt, and a stronger platform to continue serving our customers and growing our leadership position over the long term.”
To implement the recapitalization, WorldStrides has voluntarily filed a prepackaged Chapter 11 plan of reorganization in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. WorldStrides’ international entities are not included in these court proceedings. The company expects to emerge from this process by October 2020, subject to court approval and other conditions.
Court filings and other documents related to the proceedings are available on a separate website administered by Stretto at cases.stretto.com/WorldStrides.
Kirkland & Ellis LLP is serving as legal counsel, Houlihan Lokey, Inc. is serving as financial advisor and KPMG is serving as restructuring advisor to WorldStrides.
WorldStrides is the global leader in educational travel and experiential learning. The company was founded in 1967 to provide middle school travel programs to Washington, D.C., and has grown to provide a wide range of programs for more than 550,000 students annually, partnering with more than 7,000 K12 schools and 800 universities around the world. WorldStrides offers experiential learning programs in educational travel, performing arts, language immersion, career exploration, service-learning, study abroad, and sports. Each of these experiences helps students to see beyond the classroom and to see the world – and themselves – in new ways. For more information on WorldStrides, visit www.worldstrides.com.
Edelman for WorldStrides
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