Given the time constraints of Project Iceberg, FocalPoint ran an expedited process, reaching out to a select number of highly qualified financial and strategic buyers, leading to a strong number of offers at high valuations.
Founded in 2009 and headquartered in Marquette, MI, Easy Ice, LLC (“Easy Ice” or the “Company”) is the only national platform offering a comprehensive subscription service for commercial ice machines that includes installation, cleaning, preventative maintenance, repairs, upgrades, backup ice, and peak demand ice. The Company operates across 47 states under three brands: Ice Masters in Kansas and Missouri; Automatic Icemakers in Chicago; and Easy Ice in all other cities and states. FocalPoint was engaged by the founders of the Company to evaluate a potential sale to both financial sponsors and strategic acquirers to ultimately provide liquidity for the shareholders and to find a partner that could support the Company’s growth plans.
One of the Company’s lenders, Saratoga Investment Corp (“Saratoga”), who was also the largest individual shareholder, raised concerns about the timing of the sale, believing there was additional value to be realized, creating the risk that Saratoga would stand in the way of closing a transaction in a timely manner. In recent years, Easy Ice had purposefully stagnated organic growth and chose to focus on growth through acquisitions instead; investors raised concerns regarding the Company’s organic growth potential and questioned the size of the total addressable market. Easy Ice had signed a letter of intent to acquire a large Texas-based competitor (“Project Iceberg”) and expected to close the acquisition concurrently with the Company’s recapitalization; the incremental value and the exclusivity period of Project Iceberg put the sale process on an especially expedited timeline.
FocalPoint was able to ease Saratoga’s reservation to sell by demonstrating that valuations were maximized due to favorable market conditions, the incremental value of Project Iceberg, and a highly competitive marketing process that yielded five indications of interest from highly reputable private equity firms. Additionally, to address investor concerns around the Company’s growth potential, FocalPoint emphasized both near- and long-term growth opportunities, including a roll-up acquisition strategy of 300 individually identified targets, and a partnership with the major ice machine OEMs that could add an estimated 7,500 new ice machine units per year. FocalPoint ultimately facilitated a majority sale to Freeman Spogli, a financial sponsor with a successful track record in the business services sector.