November 1, 2017
Portico Capital is pleased to announce that it served as the exclusive financial advisor to fusionZONE Automotive on its majority recapitalization by Primus Capital. “fusionZONE’s SaaS website solutions deliver industry leading results for clients, enabling the Company’s rapid growth,” said Eric Denlinger, Managing Director at Portico Capital. “We are delighted to have worked with the founders towards this partnership with Primus. The firm’s expertise in accelerating growth stage businesses and deep automotive technology experience will facilitate continued innovation and value creation for the Company’s expanding client base.”
A more detailed description of the transaction is included with the Company's press release below:
fusionZONE Automotive Announces Major Growth Investment by Primus Capital
fusionZONE Automotive, a leader in digital marketing technologies for automotive dealers and OEMs, announced an investment by Primus Capital, a private equity firm based in Cleveland and Atlanta. The funding will be used to grow market share, invest in product development, and expand services for new and existing clients.
Since its inception in 2009, fusionZONE has been on the cutting edge of web design and conversion technologies, enabling dealers to reach their customers faster and connect with them in real-time, driving higher engagement and ultimately, sales. fusionZONE’s responsive and mobile-optimized platform, its emphasis on site speed and its innovative lead-generation and lead-management tools such as FastRing and FastPrice have led to dramatic growth over the past several years. Additional fusionZONE offerings enable dealers to optimize their digital marketing spend across online channels, in harmony with their overall web presence.
“The automotive industry is experiencing rapid change due to evolving consumer behavior, which has led to an acceleration in digital investments,” said Brett Sutherlin, CEO and co-founder of fusionZONE. “This funding will enable us to fuel strategic initiatives, capture new product opportunities, deepen our relationships with OEMs, and continue our excellent customer service.” Added Karen Sutherlin, COO and co-founder of fusionZONE, “Primus’ track record of success with SaaS companies, and in particular its experience in the automotive technology space, will be extremely valuable in further scaling our business over time. We are very excited to have them as a partner in our next phase of growth.”
“Beyond a couple large names, the digital marketing technologies used by auto dealers are highly fragmented. We believe that fusionZONE is poised to be the next important company in the space given their ability to effectively engage with consumers where and when they shop, across any size of dealer, OEM, or geography. The client feedback on this company has been superlative,” said Ron Hess, Managing Director at Primus. Vasant Kamath, Principal at Primus, added, “fusionZONE’s award-winning product capabilities and industry-leading conversion rates separate it from the other vendors in the space. We are confident that this partnership will increase the company’s market share and further benefit its dealer clients.” As part of the recapitalization, Hess and Kamath will join the fusionZONE board of directors, as will long time automotive industry executive Steve Greenfield, who was formerly the Vice President of Product Development and Vice President of Business Development at AutoTrader.com.
Portico Capital acted as the exclusive financial advisor to fusionZONE for this transaction.
About fusionZONE Automotive
Founded in 2009, fusionZONE Automotive is the industry’s highest performing dealer website solution. fusionZONE Automotive dealers enjoy numerous competitive advantages and are able to dominate their digital market area with advanced, all inclusive digital marketing services packages that include; SEO, Social Media Marketing, Google Ad Word Management, 24/7 Live Chat, Inventory Management Software, Hook Products, Micro-sites and Landing Pages, and unparalleled dealer support- including same day turn around on unlimited graphic requests and monthly digital marketing strategy meetings.
fusionZONE Automotive dealers attract more shoppers to their websites, convert more traffic to leads, and connect with more customers instantly by phone using unique technology solutions only available to fusionZONE Automotive clients. fusionZONE Automotive dealers have access to unlimited website options to dominate their market and surrounding PMA’s, including Service and Parts Department sites, Spanish sites with SEO value on Latino Google, Special Finance and Credit sites, Military sites, City sites, and much more. fusionZONE Automotive currently manages the SEO, Social Media Marketing, and Pay Per Click campaigns on thousands of dealer websites, micro sites, and landing pages in the U.S. and Canada. The all inclusive digital marketing services provided by fusionZONE Automotive enable dealers to produce industry leading results, while saving most dealers thousands of marketing dollars in vendor costs.
About Primus Capital
Founded in 1984, Primus is a growth-oriented private equity firm focused on investing in leading healthcare, software, and technology-enabled companies. Primus partners with exceptional management teams to accelerate growth, improve the operating performance, and increase the value of the companies in which they invest.
The types of transactions Primus pursues include buyouts, control and minority recapitalizations, secondary share purchases and expansion financings. This flexible approach enables Primus to engage with business owners and design tailored investment structures to meet the particular needs of the transaction.
About Portico Capital
Portico Capital provides independent strategic and financial advisory services in the areas of mergers & acquisitions (M&A), recapitalizations and capital raisings exclusively to private and public companies in the global information and business services/software sector. The firm, founded in 2000, has offices in New York, New York; Greenwich, Connecticut; and London, England. For more information, please visit www.porticocapital.com.
S. Searcy Dryden, General Partner
Eric Denlinger, Managing Director