Private equity investor involvement in the carwash industry is at all time highs. Institutional investors and funds have recently come into the sector in both new and monumental ways. Roark Capital, a New York based private equity fund, not only executed an intra-portfolio company acquisition (Driven Brands acquisition of ICWG), but subsequently brought Driven Brands public via an IPO. Golden Gate Capital, another institutional investment group, entered the carwash arena with a splash via the fund’s involvement in the recapitalization of Tidal Wave Auto Spa, implicitly valuing the carwash company at roughly one billion dollars.
Never has institutional money’s involvement in carwashes been this large.
Some of the factors driving this increased involvement of PE are truly carwash specific, while others are far from fundamental to the carwash industry at its very core. It’s important to keep in mind, all the while this heightened M&A activity is occurring above and beyond, and in addition to, the unprecedented levels of carwash builds happening around the nation. Greenfield developments and new car wash builds are happening across the nation at an unprecedented feverish rate as well.
There have been stark changes in the carwash landscape in just the past year. For an even more in-depth look and view on how increased merger and acquisition activity has truly sculpted the current state of the carwash industry be sure to see our 2020 Car Wash M&A Report that we published. This transactional activity level in the sector is predominantly driven by private equity and institutionally investor backed carwash operating companies.
The velocity and level at which funds are investing in carwashes can be viewed as startling, exciting, concerning, and every reaction everywhere in between. Regardless of whether and for how long said involvement persists – as of now there’s no signs of private equity’s involvement in the carwash space slowing down.