The buyer that makes the most sense isn’t always a direct competitor or even in the same industry.

Preparing for transition

CLA Investment Banking Advises On Lippert-SureShade Acquisition

  • 12/17/2019

SureShade, a Philadelphia-based maker of retractable shading systems for marine and recreational markets, has been acquired by Lippert Components Manufacturing, Inc., as it increases its investment in the recreation and leisure markets. CLA’s investment banking team served as the exclusive financial advisor to SureShade and its owners.

The transaction closed on October 21st, 2019. Price and terms were not disclosed.

SureShade designs, engineers, and manufactures highly engineered shading systems for over 125 different boat models made by more than 50 original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). It also makes shading systems for recreational and leisure vehicles. SureShade was founded in 2007 by boating enthusiasts Ron and Dana Rusikoff.

Lippert Components Manufacturing, the acquirer, manufactures and supplies components for OEMs in the recreational vehicle, marine and other related industries. It also serves related aftermarkets. Lippert Components Manufacturing is a wholly owned subsidiary of LCI Industries, Inc. (NYSE: LCII), headquartered in Elkhart, Indiana.

The SureShade business was born from the Rusikoffs’ frustration with existing shading systems offered with recreational boats. At that time, most recreational boats featured shades that required assembly, were complicated to use, were aesthetically displeasing, and often were difficult to deploy, use and store. As boating enthusiasts themselves, the Rusikoffs thought they could do better.

Working out of his garage, Ron Rusikoff designed and patented an improved retractable shading system that could be installed in the center console cavity of numerous OEM boat models. It addressed the other systems’ shortcomings and was greeted warmly by boat owners and OEMs. SureShade later leveraged its success in boating and expanded into adjacent markets such as recreational and leisure vehicles. Ron Rusikoff said he and his wife decided to sell SureShade to a strategic buyer with greater resources and the capability to continue SureShade’s strong growth.

Legal counsel for SureShade was Cheryl L. Borland of Griesing Law, LLC, of Cincinnati, Ohio. Tax advisory was provided by Eileen Domanico and Manesh Makwana of CLA’s Philadelphia office.

“This was an intimidating process when we decided to take SureShade to market as the company has been our life’s work and we knew we would need professional expertise negotiating with the multi-billion-dollar firms we were targeting as our strategic buyers,” said Dana Rusikoff. “We had a lot of interest from various parties, all with different motivations, and Paul (Novak) and CLA’s investment banking team were not only there to guide us every step of the way, but advocated hard for us when needed. Their wisdom gave us the confidence to choose LCI as our partner.”

“Our experience with CLA through the transaction was enlightening, enjoyable, and obviously rewarding, and we could not be happier with this outcome,” Rusikoff said.

Paul Novak said there was enthusiastic reception for SureShade from the market. “This was an extraordinary process, with a robust buyer response. After a lot of tough negotiations, it became clear that LCI was going to provide the best home for Ron and Dana’s legacy, vision and hard work,” Novak said. “We are excited about the partnership between SureShade and LCI and believe they will be very successful in expanding the business not only in the marine industry, but in the RV markets which have been going through a major consolidation in the last few years.”

CLA investment banking professionals provide sophisticated corporate finance advisory and investment banking services to lower middle-market businesses and owners. The practice’s services include mergers and acquisitions, recapitalizations, and other transaction related advisory services.

About CLA

CLA exists to create opportunities for our clients, our people, and our communities through industry-focused wealth advisory, outsourcing, audit, tax, and consulting services. With more than 6,200 people, 120 U.S. locations and a global affiliation, we promise to know you and help you. Investment advisory services are offered through CliftonLarsonAllen Wealth Advisors, LLC, an SEC-registered investment advisor.