BBQ products, dog magazine top July M&A activity

September 20, 2021

August 10, 2021 By: G. F. Gay Le Breton and Ryan Gerton

Baton Rouge-based BBQGuys is planning to go public through a transaction with Velocity Acquisition Corp., a blank-check firm, less than a year after it sold to Brand Velocity Partners. The transaction, which is expected to close by year end, values BBQGuys at an enterprise value of $839 million.

According to the company’s announcement in July, the specialty e-commerce and content platform for grills, grilling accessories and outdoor living products entered into a definitive business combination agreement with the specialty purpose acquisition company that will result in BBQGuys becoming a publicly listed company on Nasdaq under the new ticker symbol BBQG.

Connecticut private equity firm Brand Velocity Partners, along with investors including Archie, Peyton, Eli and Cooper Manning, NFL Hall of Famers LaDainian Tomlinson and Steve Hutchinson and lifestyle entrepreneur Landyn Hutchinson scooped up BBQ Guys last August for an estimated $140 million.

BBQGuys’ CEO Russ Wheeler told Bloomberg that the company is at the intersection of two strong categories, outdoor living and e-commerce, with an addressable market of $46 billion. Although the company faces an abundance of competition for online grill and related product sales, BBQGuys believes its growing portfolio of owned brands and established multi-channel sales platform differentiate its business model.

The company projects its revenue to grow from $264 million in 2020 to an estimated $415 million in 2022, with projected 2022 Adjusted EBITDA of $49 million. Earlier this year, BBQGuys purchased stainless-steel accessories Pacific Coast Manufacturing, and Wheeler said that the firm may grow through more acquisitions.

Also in July, New Orleans-based Perkin Industries acquired a majority stake in a Boston-area social media firm, I Love My Dog So Much LLC, for an undisclosed price.  The seller operates an online magazine focused on dogs and has used its ability to craft content that resonates with pet owners globally to become one of the largest and most engaged pet-focused pages on Facebook. It plans to expand to Instagram, Pinterest and Tik Tok.

Perkin Industries, helmed by prolific local businessman Nicolas Perkin, has a portfolio of high-performing companies covering a spectrum of social media, media, health care and services and real estate, among others. Perkin looks to invest for the long haul with the objective of becoming a value-added partner to owners and operators.

After working with I Love My Dog over the past five years and being part of its tremendous growth, Perkin Industries is looking to build engagement with the I Love My Dog community.

“We are looking forward to moving away from the past and lead the company in its next phase of evolution as we begin new marketing and sales efforts,” Perkin said. “Part of the full makeover will be content enhancement, focusing on the interest points of dog owners. We are doing this by partnering with pet startups in the various sectors such as health products, training and finding the right pet for your family.”

Local private equity firm LongueVue Capital (“LVC”) also closed a transaction in July, successfully exiting its investment in leading spinal implant platform Zavation Medical Products. The buyer, Connecticut-based private equity fund Gemspring Capital Management, purchased LVC’s majority stake for an undisclosed price.

The sale comes four years after LVC partnered with Zavation’s Founder and CEO Jeffrey Johnson and his management team to provide the capital and resources needed to reach the company’s strategic goals. According to LVC, Mississippi-based Zavation was able to expand its manufacturing capacity and double its employee base; meaningfully grow its market share and distributors; launch 21 unique products; more than double its revenues; and complete the acquisition of Pan Medical US Corp., whose complementary and patented technology expanded Zavation’s penetration in the interventional spine market.

Since closing its third fund in 2017, LVC has completed nine platform investments and six add-on investments of entrepreneur-backed, high-growth businesses across a variety of sectors.

G.F. Gay Le Breton is managing director for Chaffe & Associates Inc., responsible for the merger and acquisition activities of the firm. Ryan Gerton is financial analyst for the firm.

Investment banking services are provided by Chaffe Securities Inc., member FINRA/SIPC.