Private Equity Firms Continue to Consolidate RV Industy
Over the past 20 years or so, some of the biggest names in the RV industry – Heartland, the REV Group, Fleetwood, Monaco, Dometic, Roadtrek, Grand Design, Lazydays RV Center and Camping World, to name a few – have been acquired by private equity groups (PEGs) like Bain Capital, Alliance Holdings, American Industrial Partners, Catterton Partners, Kidd & Co., and Main Street Capital.
For the most part, these PE firms operate quietly and without a lot of press, but they can have had a profound impact upon an industry, buying a mid-size RV company as a “platform investment” and then growing that company organically and through a series of smaller add-on acquisitions. The PEG’s goal is to triple or quadruple the size of the platform investment over the next 5-6 years. This buy and build strategy often converts their portfolio companies into industry leaders and creates or saves thousands of jobs in the process.
Determining the magnitude of private equity investment in the RV industry is challenging because private equity deals are private and the terms are typically not reported. Also, unlike publicly traded companies, private equity groups are not required to share their financial statements. In fact, in many cases, PE groups prefer to operate behind the scenes and not to promote their ownership of RV companies.
Nonetheless, Jackim Woods & Co., a mergers and acquisitions firm that specializes in the RV sector, has developed a proprietary database of strategic buyers and private equity groups interested in the RV sector and has tracked more than 65 transactions involving private equity firms over the last 20 years.
It is interesting to note that private equity interest spans the breadth of the RV sector and includes RV manufacturers, RV suppliers, RV distributors and RV dealerships.
While private equity firms have been involved in the RV market for more than two decades, interest in the RV industry has picked up since 2012.
“I believe that the RV industry continues to be very fertile ground for private equity investment,” says Rich Jackim, founder and managing partner at Jackim Woods & Co.
Jackim, an investment banker who focuses on the RV industry and has worked as a mergers and acquisitions consultant since 1993, says the current market is “probably one of the strongest seller’s markets we’ve seen in the last 15 years. Private equity groups have around $250 billion in dry powder that they need to invest, so the larger your RV company, the more interest you’ll get from private equity firms.”
According to Jackim, private equity firms “have a lot of money in their pockets right now but relatively few good quality opportunities to look at so we are very fortunate to be able to present our clients with multiple offers from buyers.”
If you are interested in understanding what your RV business might be worth or exploring your options, please contact Rich Jackim at (224) 513-5142 or at email@example.com.