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Lazydays’ CEO Murnane: It’s ‘Business as Usual’

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October 31, 2017 by   Leave a Comment

Lazydays’ Chairman and CEO William P. Murnane

There’s no more recognizable name in U.S. RV retailing than Lazydays – officially known as Lazydays R.V. Center Inc.

The suburban Tampa dealership’s original headquarters store, launched in 1976 under the guiding hands of Don, Ron and H.K. Wallace, has claimed status over the years as America’s largest single RV dealership. Today, under subsequent ownership, it’s a bonafide 126-acre commercial tourist destination drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors a year – many of them snowbirds interested in the dealership’s expansive inventory, 300-bay service operation or its two campgrounds comprising more than 700 sites.

So, many industry observers didn’t take lightly last week’s (Oct. 27) news that 700-employee Lazydays, which also operates stores today in Tucson, Ariz., as well as Loveland, Denver and Longmont, Col., had entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Adina Acquisition Corp. II, a “special purpose acquisition company” representing a consortium of investors that plans to take the dealership public as Lazydays Holdings Inc. on the NASDAQ stock exchange under the new ticker LAZY.

The sellers, the dealership’s current shareholders who are to receive a combination of cash and stock, include Minnesota-based Wayzata Investment Partners LLC in a transaction that’s expected to close in the first quarter of 2018.

To shed more light on this breaking news, Lazydays’ Chairman and CEO William P. Murnane agreed to a quick Monday (Oct. 30) interview with RVBUSINESS.com during which he elaborated on some of the statements he issued in press releases assuring the RV industry and investment community that no changes were planned in the ways in which Lazydays has traditionally done business nor in the management team that runs the Florida-based dealership.

Here’s an edited summary of that phone conversation with Murnane, the company’s chairman since 2009 who previously served as an executive for publicly-held Minnesota-based electronics firm Innovex Inc.

RVB: So, Bill, what message do you most want to project to the North American RV industry about this planned transaction involving Lazydays RV?

Murnane: The main message is that Lazydays is not going to change a thing about how we operate, about how we treat our customers, about how we treat our employees, about how we treat our suppliers. It’s business as usual for Lazydays. The transaction was motivated by a drive to help the current shareholders get some liquidity, but also to give the company the resources it needs to grow, and to grow more aggressively than it has the last few years.

RVB: Growth does appear to be the driving motive here. Looks like this opens the financial door for Lazydays to go to the next level, doesn’t it?

Murnane: I think it does. And growth can come in lots of forms and fashions, but you need capital to grow, and this gives us the capital that we will need, or gives us new avenues to obtain capital that we will need to grow over the next five to 10 years.

RVB: But being public also puts some manacles on your senior management, too, doesn’t it?

Murnane: It does. But having run a public company for close to a decade, I have a very good sense of what it means to be a public company. It comes with added pressure, but that’s OK. We don’t mind.

RVB: So, realizing that you probably can’t tell us much more, should we anticipate acquisitions in the near future?

Murnane: Again, there are different ways to grow and acquisitions are certainly one of them. And when there’s the opportunity to acquire an organization that’s a good strategic fit with Lazydays and our strategy, we’ll certainly do that. There are also opportunities to open greenfield operations as well, and we’ll look for those opportunities to grow geographically.

RVB: Given all that, do you see the market remaining as strong as it has been for you and the rest of the industry?

Murnane: We don’t see anything on the horizon that gives us reason to believe the market is going to change dramatically. We’re very well aware of the cyclicality of this industry, but we also believe that there are some tailwinds that are a little unique right now in the industry — one of them being the Baby Boomers, the largest generation in the history of this country entering the core demographic for our industry, which is the 55-70 demographic. And that’s a big part of our business.

I’m sure you’ve heard the forecasters telling us that 10,000 people a day are turning 65 for the next decade — in a very core demographic for the RV industry. So we view that as helping to dampen any cycle that may be on the horizon somewhere, although we don’t see anything changing in the near future. And then, of course, there’s a lot of discussion about Millennials and Gen Xers entering the market, and being one of the fastest growing segments of the market, and that’s also very exciting. And hopefully, that, too, will help dampen any downsides.

RVB: That’s interesting. We hear so much about the coveted Millennial, whereas you’re stressing that the real breadbasket for immediate growth is the Boomer?

Murnane: Yes, especially for Lazydays. We have a big motorhome business, and that’s kind of a core demographic for that business, as well as the RV business. I would say that’s the more dominant factor in terms of numbers. Of course, the most significant element in terms of a growth rate is the younger generation. But with regard to outright sales, the Baby Boomers are the most dominant.

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