Sonny’s Switches Sponsors

Genstar has acquired Sonny’s Enterprises, a manufacturer of car wash equipment and supplies, from Sentinel Capital Partners.

Sonny’s is the largest manufacturer and distributor of conveyorized car wash equipment, parts and supplies in the world with more than 12,000 SKUs. Customers of the company include both small independents and large national car wash chains throughout the US and internationally.

Sonny’s also offers an educational program known as CarWash College, an active learning experience where car wash operators, and investors come together to take courses in maintenance, repair, and management of car washes. Sonny’s has a 135,000 sq. ft. facility and headquarters near Ft. Lauderdale in Tamarac, Florida. The company was founded in 1949 by Sonny Fazio and today is led by CEO Paul Fazio who has worked at the company for nearly 30 years.

Sentinel acquired Sonny’s in December 2017. “Working closely with Paul and his team as they pursued their vision of market leadership for Sonny’s has been an absolute privilege and pleasure,” said Scott Perry, a partner at Sentinel. “Over the past four years, Sonny’s has significantly expanded its market leadership as a total car wash solutions provider by broadening its product offering, consolidating distribution, and expanding geographically to the West Coast through both strategic acquisition and organic growth. Sonny’s installed base of car wash tunnels has grown considerably and contributed to its exceptional financial performance.”

New York City-based Sentinel invests in management buyouts, recapitalizations, corporate divestitures, and going-private transactions of businesses with EBITDAs up to $65 million. Sentinel targets eight industry sectors: aerospace and defense, business services, consumer, distribution, food and restaurants, franchising, healthcare, and industrials.

“The Sentinel team has been an outstanding partner to Sonny’s since our relationship began and we’ve built lasting friendships with them,” said Paul Fazio. “With Sentinel’s help, we have increased our growth trajectory, expanded into new product lines through transformative acquisitions, and moved closer to realizing our vision of being the premier one-stop provider of products and services to car wash professionals. We look forward to building on our success with our new private equity partners.”

San Francisco-based Genstar invests from $50 million to $400 million in middle-market companies that have enterprise values from $50 million to $1 billion and EBITDAs greater than $15 million. The firm targets investments in the financial services, software, industrial technology, and healthcare industries. In February 2019, Genstar held a final closing of Genstar Capital Partners IX LP with $5.9 billion in capital commitments.

“Sonny’s draws on over 40 years of industry leadership to drive deep relationships with over 6,000 active customers nationwide. They operate as true partners with their customers and invest in their growth, from expert guidance during site planning through construction and operations, forging a long-term relationship as they grow together,” said Rob Rutledge, a managing director of Genstar. “We are very excited to work with Paul Fazio and his team to grow the business both organically and through strategic acquisitions.”

Fully committed debt financing for this transaction was provided by New York-based Owl Rock Capital as the administrative agent and lead arranger.

Private Equity Professional | August 11, 2020

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