The Stephens Group Exits CoreLink

June 27, 2023

LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS – June 27, 2023 –The Stephens Group, LLC (“The Stephens Group”) is pleased to announce the exit of CoreLink, LLC (“CoreLink” or the “Company”) through a sale of the business to Zavation Medical Products (“Zavation”), a portfolio company of Gemspring Capital Management, LLC (“Gemspring”). Zavation and CoreLink will continue to operate under their respective brands and the combined business will be led by Zavation CEO Jeffrey Johnson, while Jay Bartling, CEO of CoreLink, will become Chairman of the Board of Directors. The Stephens Group will retain a minority stake in the combined entity.

CoreLink is a leading, vertically-integrated provider of spinal implant and instrumentation systems. For over two decades, the Company has solidified itself as a leading provider of novel devices and instrumentation for spinal surgery and more recently has established a differentiated product portfolio supporting lateral spine procedures. CoreLink has uniquely leveraged in-house additive manufacturing techniques to launch its proprietary Mimetic Metal® technology which drives improved patient outcomes. At the same time, CoreLink has invested significantly in medical education including development of a state-of-the-art Bioskills facility in St. Louis, Missouri, to meet evolving surgical needs.

As the first institutional investor in the founder-owned business, The Stephens Group worked alongside CoreLink’s management team to successfully consolidate three facilities into one world class facility, expand the Company’s product line, invest in additive manufacturing, complete CoreLink’s first acquisition, establish a seasoned board, and grow the Company significantly, doubling the business during its hold period.

“We congratulate Jay and the entire CoreLink team on this well-earned milestone,” said Grant Jones, Managing Director at The Stephens Group. “We’re proud of the success and impact we have achieved during our time together. We look forward to seeing the company continue to grow alongside Zavation.”

Piper Sandler Companies served as financial advisor and Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP served as legal counsel on the transaction.


CoreLink, known as The Source for Spine™, internally designs and manufactures more than 99% of its broad portfolio of spinal implant systems. With a unique heritage that combines old-world craftsmanship with state-of-art manufacturing, we collaborate with surgeons to develop and deliver effective surgical solutions and improve the lives of patients. For more information, visit


Based in Flowood, MS, Zavation designs, engineers, and manufactures a portfolio of spinal hardware and biologics covering key areas including cervical, thoracolumbar, interbody fusion, interventional spine, and minimally invasive surgery. Founded in 2012, Zavation has experienced exceptional growth and created a national network of numerous distributors across the United States. The Company has commercialized over 25 product families since inception. Zavation operates a newly constructed 75,000 square foot vertically integrated facility in Flowood, MS. To learn more information about Zavation and the Company’s suite of products, visit


The Stephens Group, LLC is a private investment firm that partners with talented management teams to help build valuable businesses. Backed by the resources of the Witt Stephens, Jr. and Elizabeth Campbell families, the firm combines the operational expertise of a private equity firm with the flexibility provided by long-term capital. With nearly $2 billion of private equity assets under management, the firm has a long history of providing informed, sophisticated expertise and working with owners and managers to help them successfully achieve their strategic visions and build long-term value. Since 2006, The Stephens Group has invested in over 50 companies, targeting investments in industries across the U.S., including industrial and commercial products and services, specialty distribution, technology infrastructure and vertical software.


Allie Laborde
Principal, Business Development
The Stephens Group, LLC