Chicago - Feb. 14, 2020
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Easy Ice Acquired By Freeman Spogli

Easy Ice, LLC ("Easy Ice"), the leading provider of commercial ice machine rental and related services, announced it has been acquired by Freeman Spogli & Co. ("Freeman Spogli"), management and other investors.

Easy Ice's co-founders, Mark Hangen and John Mahlmeister, and the rest of the management team will continue to lead and operate the company. Specific terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 2009 and co-headquartered in Phoenix and Marquette, Michigan, Easy Ice provides ice machine rental and related services for more than 25,000 ice makers across 47 states.

Easy Ice is the only national platform offering a comprehensive subscription service for commercial ice machines that includes installation, cleaning, preventive maintenance, repairs, backup ice, and peak demand ice.

This full-service offering allows Easy Ice's customers to outsource this mission-critical function and focus on their core operations.

Easy Ice's reputation as the "The Ice Machine Experts" is a result of its scale, unmatched national footprint, broad service offering, ice machine refurbishment capabilities and utilization of timely and high quality in-house and third-party technicians.

"We look forward to leveraging Freeman Spogli's experience in developing value-added distribution and retail services companies," said Mark Hangen, co-founder and CEO of Easy Ice. "John and I felt strongly that Freeman Spogli's proven track record of driving strong organic growth and supporting strategic acquisitions would make them an invaluable partner as we continue to execute our multipronged growth strategy."

"A decade ago, Mark and John set out to create a business that addressed the major pain points and challenges faced by owners of commercial ice machines." said John Hwang, a Partner at Freeman Spogli. "Since then, they have successfully positioned Easy Ice as a value-added service partner to all its customers. We look forward to supporting Easy Ice and the management team as long-term investors in the Company."

About Easy Ice

Easy Ice is the national leader in the full-service ice machine subscription industry with warehouse and distribution facilities in Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City and Orlando.

Since its founding in 2009, the company has rapidly grown its ice machines under management to 25,000 units across 47 states.

The company operates under three brands: Ice Masters in Kansas and Missouri; Automatic Icemakers in Chicago; and Easy Ice in all other cities and states.

About Freeman Spogli & Co.

Freeman Spogli & Co. is a private equity firm dedicated exclusively to investing in and partnering with management in consumer and distribution companies in the United States.

Since its founding in 1983, Freeman Spogli has invested over $4.7 billion in 63 portfolio companies with an aggregate transaction value of over $24 billion, and is currently making investments from FS Equity Partners VIII, L.P.

Freeman Spogli has offices in Los Angeles and New York.

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See also:

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And:

* "We're more than an ice machine business, we're your partner in your ice needs."

* "We started Easy Ice to eliminate the hassles of ice machine ownership. We believe that one day, our flat fee, all-inclusive, guaranteed service will be the way businesses ensure their ice supply. Why do we believe that? - because ice machines are a bad investment. They are capital intensive, an operational liability, require specialized labor, and create no differentiation, price premium, customer loyalty, or competitive barriers. Those are textbook reasons for outsourcing. Add to that a service industry that only makes money when the ice machine breaks and there is no reason for a business to invest in that asset. Our incentives are perfectly aligned with those of our customers - we are profitable only when the equipment runs reliably. We own and operate more ice machines than any business in the US and are committed to translate our learnings in to better solutions for our customers. We'd love to make your ice machine hassles a thing of the past!"

* "The firm made its name in the 1980s through a series of leveraged buyout transactions. Throughout the 1980s, Riordan, Freeman & Spogli also executed leveraged buyouts of several supermarket retailers including Bayless Southwest (Phoenix), Boys Markets (Los Angeles), P&C Foods (Syracuse, NY), Piggly Wiggly (various Southern states), and Tops Markets (New York and Pennsylvania)."

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Plus:

"Freeman Spogli, according to its website, typically invests in medium-size consumer and distribution businesses. Its current investments include Petco, the pet supplies retailer; Boot Barn, a chain of Western wear stores; and Totes Isotoner, the maker of umbrellas, boots and accessories. Ronald P. Spogli, co-founder of the firm, was ambassador to Italy under President George W. Bush," the New York Times reported in 2014 upon the firm announcing it would allow an independent adviser to monitor its practices.

"Freeman Spogli may not have acted out of the goodness of its heart. Documents obtained by The New York Times show that the independent adviser appointment was disclosed after officials at the Securities and Exchange Commission raised questions about several of the firm's practices. Those questions arose from an examination in April 2013 related to two older Freeman Spogli funds and were posed in a private letter that the S.E.C. sent to the firm in May 2013.

"According to the letter, S.E.C. officials said that Freeman Spogli appeared to be violating fee-sharing arrangements with its investors in two funds, despite promises to the contrary. And Freeman Spogli, the S.E.C.'s letter said, appeared to be reaping fees from investment-banking-type transactions without fulfilling the regulatory requirement of being registered as a broker-dealer."

Update, please. Assignment Desk, activate!

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on January 10, 2020


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