This article is a summary of recent M&A activity in the recreational vehicle industry in 2023.
The recreational vehicle industry is coming off two of the most profitable and demanding years in a row. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic shutdown greatly benefited all aspects of the industry, from manufacturers, dealers, repairs, and campgrounds. The companies that were ready capitalized greatly and added a new generation of customers to its base. But now what? 2023 is proving to be a very different year for all involved.
Recent Mergers and Acquisitions
Despite the recent slowdown in the RV industry as a whole, mergers, and acquisitions are still going strong. Marcus Lemonis, Chairman and CEO of Camping World, recently said, “Our goal is to achieve 50% growth in our store count over the next five years”. Camping World is currently the largest retailer of RVs and has 197 store locations. Many other conglomerates are looking to expand via acquisitions and new store openings.
By Craig Hudman, Managing Director at Jackim Woods & Co.
Jackim Woods & Co. is a leading mergers and acquisition advisor focused on providing senior-level attention and flawless execution to clients in the recreational vehicle industry.
Craig is an experienced mergers & acquisitions professional, a former owner of a leading RV dealer, and a dealership management and operations expert. He brings over 30 years of RV-related experience.
To arrange a free, confidential initial consultation, please contact Craig Hudman at (208)521-1521 or email@example.com.Read More
If you’ve ever heard the saying, “You don’t know, what you don’t know,” and never understood it, I was there also. I sold my family business about 18 months ago to a much larger company. At the time, I thought that knew a lot about the RV industry, after all, I was a third-generation owner. I figured if my grandfather and father had been successful for over 50 years, what they’d taught me ought to be enough. That idea, that concept embedded into the depths of my thought, couldn’t have been more wrong. I soon would learn “what I didn’t know.”
The first six months were really a blur. Our projections and goals were constantly changing based on more growth than I ever could’ve imagined. All of the new tools and information I now had at my disposal were amazing. Any question I had could be answered, and hunches could now be backed up with quantifiable data. I’ll admit it was a bit of an overload at first, but now it has become normal.
To people that have been brought into the light after having been in the dark, the world seems amazing, and this is how I felt. Along with this amazing feeling also comes a bit of shame. I now can say, “I didn’t know what I now know.” Shame comes from knowing that in 50 years of business, we never truly grew. Not when I came home from college with all my “fancy” degrees and learning. Not from an evolving economy. We only focused on small, consistent growth that was very risk-averse and preservation-minded. Debt was always considered bad. Sure, we made a great living, but now I know what could’ve been.
So to all those out there who “don’t know what you don’t know,” I suggest you learn before it cost you as much as it cost me. Sure, it cost me in the valuation of my company, but most of all, it cost me years of personal and professional growth. Now I am always searching for ways to improve, so if I am ever in the same position, my “don’t know” won’t last very long.
If you own an RV dealer, supplier, or OEM and would like to explore your growth options or exit options, I would welcome an opportunity to speak with you. Feel free to contact me for a confidential, no-cost, no-obligation consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org or 208-521-1521. I look forward to speaking with you.Read More
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.Read More