Editor’s Note: The following Q&A with Lazydays Holdings Inc. Chairman and CEO Bill Murnane, appearing in the Tampa Bay Business Journal, addresses the company’s decision to go public.
Lazydays Holdings Inc., which operates recreational vehicle dealerships in Seffner, Fla., and four other locations, is an iconic Tampa Bay company. Founded by Tampa businessman Don Wallace in 1976 for $500 and two travel trailers, it has grown to the largest RV dealership in the world, and it became Tampa Bay’s newest public company on March 15, when it completed a merger with a shell company, Andina Acquisition II, in a deal valued at $116 million.
Leading the deal for Lazydays was William “Bill” Murnane, chairman and CEO. Murnane has been at Lazydays for nearly a decade, after the private equity firm where he was a principal and operating partner acquired the company. Before that, he was chairman and CEO of Innovex Inc., an international manufacturer of components used in high technology electronics.
Tampa Bay Business Journal: How did your career path bring you to Lazydays?
Murnane: Back in 2008, I had an opportunity to join a private equity firm in Minnesota, Wayzata Investment Partners. Less than a year into my tenure at Wayzata, we made an investment in Lazydays. Lazydays had some financial difficulties back then, which is why we invested in it, because we had a fund that invested in companies that had financial difficulties and we used our capital to help them get through that and recover. When we got involved, I became chairman of the board of Lazydays in 2009 and I’ve been chairman ever since then.
In the summer of 2016, the CEO at the time of Lazydays [Tim Sheehan] came to me as chairman and said, ‘Bill, I’ve got some personal circumstances that won’t allow me to remain CEO of Lazydays.’ I had spent 10 years in private equity and enjoyed every bit of it, but I was ready to go run a company again, which is what I love doing. The more I thought about the Lazydays opportunity, the more I realized that’s really what I wanted to do. I talked to my partners at Wayzata and after some discussion we all agreed that I would run Lazydays, which I started doing in December 2016.
Tampa Bay Business Journal: What made you think, Lazydays is the company I want to run?
Murnane: No. 1, Lazydays is one of the best brands in the RV industry. Everyone in the industry knows Lazydays. The RV industry is pretty fragmented. Lazydays only operates today in three states and it’s such a big brand that there’s an opportunity for Lazydays to be a national brand and to operate in a lot of states. So I saw a great brand, I saw a fragmented industry, and I saw an opportunity to grow Lazydays nationally and turn it into a much larger organization.
It’s also a really fun industry. There’s not many jobs in this world where you give joy and pleasure to your customers, you help make their lives more enjoyable, and we get to do that every day here at Lazydays.
Tampa Bay Business Journal: What are the pros and cons of running a public company as opposed to being in private equity or running a private company?
Murnane: The big positive and the reason we wanted to go public is we now have access to a lot of capital. In order to grow, you need capital and as a public company we have access to more types of capital. We have the financing to allow us to grow.
The big negative is you have to disclose everything you are doing. We don’t necessarily mind disclosing to our shareholders, they deserve to know. But we are also disclosing it to our competitors. That’s the part we don’t like so much.
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