Aberdeen Advisors represented the Ryan family’s medical laundry company in the sale to a nationwide franchisor
TAMPA, Fla. (August 21, 2019) – Twenty years ago, Tim Ryan and his wife cashed in their 401k plans, took out a second mortgage on their South Tampa home and at age 57, he started running his own industrial laundry business out of their sunroom.
In 1999, he bought the rights to an ImageFirst franchise, along with inventory of linens and scrubs, and started providing and washing scrubs and sheets for outpatient health care facilities. He delivered everything in a used Dodge minivan.
“Companies I’d worked for before were sold three different times and it didn’t work out too well for me,” Ryan recalled recently. “So, I decided to start my own business because I wanted to be the one leaving with a big smile and a big check after the next sale happened.”
He now has that smile and that check. Ryan recently sold ImageFirst Tampa, which he and his son J.C. Ryan grew into a multimillion-dollar business with 117 employees, more than 1,000 clients and 40,000 square feet of industrial laundry space in Clearwater.
“We have good people who work hard every day and we have all created a strong culture where everybody cares about everybody else as we all want to succeed and grow,” said J.C. Ryan. “That culture will continue under this new ownership.”
The St. Petersburg-based Aberdeen Advisors mergers and acquisition firm represented the Ryans in the sale to Philadelphia-based ImageFirst. A private equity firm recently bought the franchisor and in turn, wanted to acquire ImageFirst Tampa, the chain’s most profitable franchise.
Aberdeen played a critical role in the process, Tim Ryan said. “Your lawyer is there to protect you and make sure nothing comes around to bite you in the behind,” he said. “Aberdeen was there to make sure we got the correct price, with the correct timing and to ensure that all the other parts went smoothly.”
“Aberdeen allowed me to continue managing a business that was for sale at the same time,” added J.C. Ryan.
There were some very unique considerations in this deal, with the process involving dozens of financial schedules, said Emery Ellinger, Aberdeen’s CEO. Aberdeen helped the buyers understand the intricacies of a business that is more complex than people may realize. As an example of the scale of its work, ImageFirst Tampa has a machine that washes 4,300 pounds of laundry in an hour. The machine cost $1 million.
“This is an equipment-heavy business with significant depreciation,” Ellinger said. “That said, both parties did an excellent job in doing the work needed to make the deal work for both sides.”
J.C. Ryan will continue with ImageFirst Tampa, which serves multiple Florida markets from Sebring to Jacksonville and St. Petersburg to Daytona Beach. The Company’s clients include such major health-care providers as Florida Orthopaedic Institute, Tower Imaging and Suncoast Hospice.
About Aberdeen Advisors: Aberdeen Advisors is a St. Petersburg-based mergers and acquisition firm that helps business owners sell their companies. It leverages extensive knowledge and experience to match buyers and sellers of businesses that range in annual revenues from $5 million to $100 million. Aberdeen’s areas of expertise include manufacturing, medical, distribution, healthcare, technology, and service industries.
The Company was founded in 2008 by Emery Ellinger, after he sold his marketing firm that he built from the ground up into a company with $7 million in annual revenues. Each member of the Aberdeen Advisors team has personally owned and managed a business. More information is available at AberdeenAdvisors.com.
About ImageFirst Tampa: Formed in 1999 by the Ryan family, ImageFirst Tampa is a leading provider of medical laundry services across central Florida. The business rents linen, patient gowns and scrubs to more than 1,000 medical facilities and washes and delivers product to them every week.