‘Camping World’ is Firmly in Acquisition Mode

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November 8, 2018 by   Leave a Comment

Camping World Holdings Inc. closed on just one acquisition in the third quarter, but the Lincolnshire, Ill.-based company announced two more deals and signed a purchase agreement for another in October as it takes advantage of a marketplace that is ripe for active buyers.

“In a highly fragmented industry that is primarily comprised of smaller independent operators, we continue to see a number of acquisition opportunities and are actively involved in a number of deals in various stages of process,” Brent Moody, Camping World’s newly appointed president, said on Tuesday’s (Nov. 6) earnings conference call with analysts.

Moody reportef that Camping World has been extremely acquisitive of late, most notably in the second quarter when the company:

  • Completed six dealership acquisitions and added new RV dealerships in Sioux City, S.D.; Sherwood, Ariz.; Nashville, Tenn.; Redding, Calif.; Oklahoma City, Okla., and Newport News, Va., in the second quarter 2018;
  • Opened 52 Gander Outdoors stores in key markets with very strong RV registrations in the first half of 2018; Added RV sales to the Gander Outdoors stores in Kenosha, Wis., and Fayetteville, N.C,. in the second quarter 2018; Signed agreement to purchase Russ Dean RV in the Pasco, Wash., markets; On track to add RV parts, accessories and services to all Gander Outdoors locations and operate cobranded Camping World and Gander Outdoors stores by the end of 2018;
  • Announced plans to expand the number of RV sales locations by more than 30% through next year with the launch of Gander RV Sales in up to 40 locations, new store openings and continued acquisitions.

In the third quarter, the company closed on an acquisition in Antioch, Ill., “that will boost our sales and service capacity in the northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin market,” Moody said. And in October, the first month of the fourth quarter, the company closed on its previously announced acquisitions in Pascoe, Wash., and Dekalb, Ill., while also signing a purchase agreement to acquire an RV dealership in Reno, Nev. — “a market we have been pursuing for some time,” Moody said.

On the call, CEO Marcus Lemonis added that Camping World is ideally poised to grow through acquisition based on its current footprint, balance sheet and appetite for investment.

“It is our goal that we will continue to leverage our infrastructure and our size and our excess cash flow in 2019 to be very aggressive and very strategic and continuing to add on to the scale of this business,” he said. “As I think about 2019, we’ve made investments in inventory, we’ve made investments in the CapEx, we’ve made investments in the opening things. Right now, we want to execute what we have and use our excess cash flow for accretive or strategic initiatives”

But Moody did add that as the company plans to open a new Camping World retail store and dealership in the next 60 days in the Rockford to further expand its Illinois presence, Camping World is also mindful of opening and buying too much, too quickly. And it won’t think twice about closing underperforming stores.

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