HOUSTON, TX – December 23, 2021 – WhiteWater Express Car Wash (“WhiteWater” or the “Company”), a leading express car wash platform, announced that it has partnered with Freeman Spogli & Co. (“Freeman Spogli”). WhiteWater’s founders, Steve Mathis, Clayton Clark and Shane Wilson, and SkyKnight Capital, L.P. (“SkyKnight Capital”) will remain significant investors alongside Freeman Spogli. Steve, Clayton, and Chief Financial Officer Henry Shine will continue to lead the Company as WhiteWater embarks on the next phase of its growth. Specific terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Founded in 2016 and headquartered in Houston, Texas, WhiteWater has grown from a single location operator into a multi-regional express car wash platform which goes to market under a unified brand. WhiteWater has quickly expanded its geographic presence by executing on a “land and expand” strategy, entering new markets via acquisition, then building greenfield locations while continuing to acquire to strengthen its market share. The Company currently operates over 60 locations across Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio, Kentucky, and Michigan.
“We are excited to partner with Freeman Spogli as WhiteWater continues to execute on its multi-pronged, multi-regional growth strategy,” said Steve Mathis, co-founder and CEO of WhiteWater Express. “Freeman Spogli’s extensive experience in successfully building consumer brands and scaling multi-unit businesses will bolster our strategy to densify existing markets while pursuing thoughtful new market expansion. Most importantly, our commitment to prioritize our customers, employees, and communities is stronger than ever with Freeman Spogli on our team. SkyKnight Capital has been instrumental in establishing WhiteWater’s foundation and growth playbook, and we are pleased to continue our partnership for WhiteWater’s next phase of growth.”
“WhiteWater is a best-in-class platform with incredible potential to expand through a combination of “buy” and “build” strategies across the highly fragmented and growing express car wash market,” said Chris Johnson, Partner at Freeman Spogli. “We are thrilled to be partnering with such an exceptional, passionate, and experienced management team as they execute on an exciting long-term vision for WhiteWater.”
Jordan Hathaway, Partner at Freeman Spogli, added, “The WhiteWater team’s dedication to excellence combined with their genuine passion for the car wash sector has created a strong brand identity that resonates with customers and employees. The result is evident in the Company’s industry-leading unit economics and operating metrics.”
SkyKnight Capital, which invested in WhiteWater in 2018, will retain significant ownership in the Company as part of this transaction. “Steve, Clayton, and the rest of the WhiteWater team have built a truly unique company. Differentiated by its leadership culture and exceptional customer service, WhiteWater has grown by 10x to over 60 locations across multiple geographies over the past three years and established itself as the leading, pure-play express car wash platform. WhiteWater is poised to sustain its dynamic growth, and we look forward to our continued partnership with the Company,” added Jordan Milich, Partner at SkyKnight Capital.
WhiteWater and SkyKnight Capital were advised by Harris Williams and their legal counsel was Holland and Knight. Freeman Spogli was advised by J.P. Morgan Securities LLC and its legal counsel was Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. Crescent Capital led the debt financing to support the acquisition with participation from Goldman Sachs Asset Management and New Mountain Finance Corporation.
About WhiteWater Express
Founded in 2016 and headquartered in Houston, Texas, WhiteWater owns and operates express exterior car washes, a highly automated car wash model, and generates a significant portion of its revenue from recurring monthly memberships. WhiteWater has grown through a combination of acquisitions and greenfield development, and currently operates over 60 locations in five states, with plans to have over 100 locations by the end of 2022. The Company operates under a single brand and point of sale system. For more information, please visit www.whitewatercw.com.
About Freeman Spogli
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 $5.3 billion in 67 portfolio companies with an aggregate transaction value of over $25 billion, and is currently making investments from FS Equity Partners VIII, L.P. Freeman Spogli has offices in Los Angeles and New York. For additional information, please visit www.freemanspogli.com.
About SkyKnight Capital
Founded in 2015, SkyKnight Capital manages over $2 billion in private equity capital on behalf of leading institutional family offices, foundations, endowments, and pensions. SkyKnight makes long-term investments into high quality businesses in acyclical growth sectors alongside exceptional management teams. SkyKnight aims to build industry defining businesses in healthcare, financial services, and tech-enabled services. More information is available at www.skyknightcapital.com.