The nation’s largest specialty pool supply retailer just got bigger.
Leslie’s Poolmartrecently acquired Solutions by Self Chem, a retail firm with six stores in Austin and another in nearby Temple, Texas. The deal was finalized Sept. 12. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Solutions by Self Chem had been a presence in the area since 1986, and was led by founders Victor and Martin Yin.
“[The company] matched our profile in terms of its culture, store size and network,” said Steven Ortega, executive vice president and CFO of Phoenix-based Leslie’s. “It was a high-integrity company, and we gave a lot of thought to that in terms of our long-term integration,” he added. “So it was a great fit. We’re very excited about it.”
The deal for Solutions by Self Chem comes two months after Leslie’s was put up for sale — at an asking price of more than $1 billion — by its private equity sponsor, Leonard Green & Partners.
In August, however, another private equity firm, CVC Capital Partners, purchased an undisclosed number of minority shares in Leslie’s, signaling confidence in the retailer’s strategy and growth plan, company officials said.
Indeed, the firm continues to grow organically, building 20 to 30 new stores each year. And sales and gross profits have increased annually over the past decade.
With the acquisition, Leslie’s now counts 15 stores in Austin and Temple, an area that’s well-positioned for future growth. In fact, Forbes last year ranked Austin as the nation’s best big city for jobs.
The city also has added residents faster than almost anywhere else in the nation over the past 18 months. And a number of high-tech companies, including Dell, IBM, 3M, Hewlett-Packard, Cisco Systems and Apple, either have headquarters or significant operations in Austin.
“It’s probably still known as a good area,” said Steve Johnson, co-owner of All City Pool and Spas in Round Rock, a suburb of Austin. “It’s an educated area — there’s still some money around here. So it’s something that likely makes [Leslie’s] portfolio look better.”
Texas itself is one of the retailer’s largest and longest-standing markets. In 2009, Leslie’s operated 112 stores in the Lone Star State, according to company officials. Overall, it runs 652 retail outlets in 35 states.