Published in Manufacturing

Easy Ice acquired by L.A. private equity firm

BY MIBIZ STAFF Thursday, January 30, 2020 11:30am

MARQUETTE — Easy Ice LLC, a commercial ice machine rental and servicing company, has been acquired by private equity firm Freeman Spogli & Co. of Los Angeles, Calif.

Co-founders Mark Hangen and John Mahlmeister and the Easy Ice management team will continue to operate the company, which rents or services more than 25,000 ice makers to clients in 47 states. 


Hangen said the deal positions Easy Ice for the next phase of its expansion strategy. 

“We look forward to leveraging Freeman Spogli’s experience in developing value-added distribution and retail services companies,” Hangen said in a statement. “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 multi-pronged growth strategy.”

Easy Ice, which also maintains offices in Phoenix, Ariz., offers ice machine subscription services that include installation, cleaning, preventive maintenance and repairs. The company’s brands include Ice Masters in Kansas and Missouri and Automatic Icemakers in Chicago. 

Freeman Spogli Partner John Hwang described Easy Ice as “the only national player in the full-service ice machine subscription market.” 

“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. Since then, they have successfully positioned Easy Ice as a value-added service partner to all its customers,” Hwang said in a statement.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. 

Easy Ice was advised in the deal by Los Angeles-based FocalPoint Securities LLC and Austin, Texas-based law firm Queen, Saenz + Schutz PLLC. Varagon Capital Partners and Madison Capital provided debt financing. Freeman Spogli was advised by Philadelphia, Pa.-based Morgan, Lewis and Bockius LLP

Previously, Easy Ice was a portfolio company of New York-based Saratoga Investment Corp., which invested in the company in 2014 and recapitalized it in 2017. Madison Capital provided Easy Ice with a senior capital facility as part of the recapitalization deal. 

The deal marks the second transaction in a month for Freeman Spogli involving a Michigan company. As MiBiz previously reported, the private equity firm acquired a majority interest in Grand Rapids-based Kamps Inc., a pallet management firm.

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