AEA invested in In The Swim (“ITS”), the largest direct marketer of swimming pool supplies to residential and commercial consumers in the United States in February 2005. The company offers an extensive selection of chlorine and specialty chemicals, pool equipment (such as pumps, filters and heaters), pool covers, liners and other accessories, and prospects through its traditional catalog program, via the internet, and through an outbound telesales effort.
AEA DIFFERENTIATOR: LEVERAGING THE AEA NETWORK
- During the diligence process, AEA worked with a Participant to evaluate ITS’ competitive position in terms of pricing and cost structure. AEA also leveraged another Participant’s relationships in the hotel industry to assess and capitalize on the opportunity to grow ITS’ commercial business post-transaction.
- Post-transaction, AEA built an experienced and talented board of directors from the industry relationships who worked actively alongside the deal team during the acquisition process. The addition of the two Participants who helped during the diligence process to the board provided both industry expertise and assistance in the development of a successful business to business program for the hospitality market.
AEA VALUE CREATION
- Led a detailed strategic planning process, researching and identifying 14 organic and 40 acquisition opportunities.
- Sourced and completed two add-on acquisitions, Spectrum Aquatics and Specialty Pool Products, which strengthened ITS’ competitive position in the commercial and internet markets, respectively.
- Operationally, the AEA network provided ITS with new proprietary sources of customer acquisition. In addition, AEA augmented senior management through the hiring of senior executives in IT and internet marketing and was able to prioritize key operational and infrastructure improvements, namely in IT and systems, to support growth.
- AEA completed the sale of ITS to a financial sponsor in 2008.
- Under AEA ownership, ITS was able to increase both net sales and EBITDA by over 60% in just over three years.