Wind Point Stays Cool with RTIC Buy

RTIC Outdoors, an online seller of coolers, has been acquired by Wind Point Partners.

RTIC uses an eCommerce-based direct-to-consumer model to sell its coolers, tumblers, bottles, travel bags, and other products to outdoor enthusiasts. The company outsources its manufacturing and maintains fulfillment centers in California, Illinois, Texas, Georgia, and Pennsylvania.

Houston-headquartered RTIC was founded by twin brothers Jim and John Jacobsen in 2015. Partnering with Wind Point and the Jacobsen brothers on this transaction is consumer products executive Bill Pond, who has joined RTIC as its new CEO.

Mr. Pond has experience in direct-to-consumer businesses in the athletic and outdoor consumer markets. From 2018 to 2020, Mr. Pond was the president of SwimOutlet.com, a California-based online specialty store for swimming gear. Earlier, from 2002 to 2016, he was with L.L. Bean, where he led its eCommerce business.

“I am thrilled to join RTIC, which has a strong and loyal following of customers who appreciate its value proposition of providing the highest quality products at affordable prices,” said Mr. Pond. “We will not waver in that quality-for-value promise as we continue to grow and expand into new categories.”

“RTIC is a tremendous brand and great example of Wind Point’s strategy of aligning interests with founders to develop a leadership succession plan for a business that has reached an inflection point in its growth,” said Paul Peterson, a managing director at Wind Point. “Amidst changing consumer buying behavior and considering the current pandemic, RTIC is well-positioned to capitalize on the acceleration of eCommerce and growth in outdoor recreation. We look forward to working with Jim, John and Bill, as well as the entire RTIC team, in further building the brand and executing our value creation plan.”

Brown Gibbons Lang (BGL) was the financial advisor to RTIC on this transaction. “BGL’s experience and knowledge around the value drivers of a direct-to-consumer eCommerce business, combined with a strong understanding of brand value propositions, enabled us to find a fantastic partner in Wind Point,” said John Jacobsen. “The BGL team skillfully told our story, based on proprietary data, validating the strength of our brand and the depth of our customer base. We are ecstatic with the outcome and excited to continue on this journey with Wind Point.”

Chicago-based Wind Point invests from $50 million to $100 million in companies with EBITDA of at least $10 million. Industries of interest include business services, consumer products and industrial products. Wind Point is currently investing out of Wind Point Partners IX LP which began fundraising in 2019.

“Given Wind Point’s experience in the consumer sector, track record of successful leadership transitions, and excellence in building strong businesses, we are thrilled to be partnering with them to help drive RTIC’s next phase of growth and long-term success,” added Mr. Jacobsen.

RTIC is a competitor of YETI, a former portfolio company of Cortec Group. Cortec acquired YETI in 2012, took the company public in 2018 and completed its exit of the company in June 2020. YETI filed a lawsuit against RTIC in 2015 alleging trademark and patent violations. The two companies settled their dispute in 2017 with RTIC agreeing to redesign some of its products and make a payment to YETI. At that time, RTIC stated that it settled with YETI “for the purpose of avoiding the additional costs and uncertainty of continued litigation.”

Private Equity Professional | September 15, 2020

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