Cowen Sustainable Advisors, a Cowen Inc division, has agreed to acquire a significant minority stake in ecoATM from Apollo Global Management Inc for $200 million. Guggenheim Securities LLC and The Raine Group served as financial advisors to ecoATM and Apollo on the deal. ecoATM currently owns and operates approximately 4,300 automated kiosks in retail locations across the United States, and 54 kiosks in the U.K. and Germany.
SAN DIEGO, CA, Feb. 4, 2020 /PRNewswire/ – ecoATM, LLC (“ecoATM” or the “Company”), the leading automated kiosk direct-to-consumer electronic device trade-in company, announced today that Cowen Sustainable Advisors (“CSI”), a division of Cowen Inc. (NASDAQ: COWN), has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire a significant minority stake in the business for $200 million from certain funds (the “Apollo Funds”) managed by affiliates of Apollo Global Management, Inc. (NYSE: APO) (together with its consolidated subsidiaries, “Apollo”). Upon the closing of the transaction, which is expected later this month, Vusal Najafov and Ewa Kozicz, Co-Heads of CSI, will join the Board of Directors of ecoATM, providing strategic guidance particularly with regard to growth and sustainability. The Apollo Funds will remain the majority owner of ecoATM and CEO Dave Maquera, along with the existing management team, will continue to lead the business.
“We are extremely pleased to have CSI as a co-sponsor alongside Apollo and welcome Vusal and Ewa to our board,” said Dave Maquera. “The CSI team has a deep understanding of the potential of ecoATM and of the significant impact our company has on sustainability factors throughout the consumer electronics vertical. By giving the consumer a fast, efficient and trusted means to recycle smartphones for cash, ecoATM delivers an assurance that the devices will not contribute to ‘e-waste’ or end up in landfills.”
“ecoATM has a significant economic, environmental and social value proposition given that it extends the useful lives of mobile phones while creating affordable mobile access for the growing world population,” said Ewa Kozicz, Co-Head of CSI. “By enabling phone reuse and reducing manufacture of new phones, we believe that the Company can prevent the generation of substantial amounts of greenhouse gas emissions each year. We look forward to supporting ecoATM’s continued growth on a global scale.”
“We have been thrilled with the progress made by the ecoATM management team to establish the company as an innovator in the consumer electronic device reCommerce industry,” said David Sambur, Chairman of the Board of ecoATM and Co-Lead Partner of Private Equity at Apollo. “Underpinned by its differentiated AI and robotics technology, ecoATM has grown significantly over the last several years by offering consumers a seamless automated trade-in experience.”
“We identified early on that ecoATM had significant growth potential, but also that consumer and industry priorities regarding the environment and sustainability would align with the value proposition of this unique company,” said Reed Rayman, Partner at Apollo. “CSI is a tremendous ally for us given their unique toolkit of expertise and experience in sustainability, data analytics, and real asset operation and securitization, which aligns with the Company’s business model and growth objectives.”
ecoATM currently owns and operates approximately 4,300 automated kiosks in retail locations across the United States, and 54 kiosks in the U.K. and Germany as it begins its expansion into Europe. The kiosks allow customers to quickly, conveniently and safely sell their pre-owned mobile devices for cash, which in turn allows these devices to be reused by consumers domestically and around the world. Every year approximately 60 million mobile phones are retired without being reused or recycled in the U.S. alone, and it is the Company’s mission to expand its presence and deploy new technologies and channels to normalize consumer resale and reuse, and help protect the planet from the harmful impacts of e-waste and smartphone manufacturing. Since its acquisition by Apollo in September 2016, ecoATM has expanded its kiosk footprint by almost 2,000 kiosks, which allowed the Company to purchase and resell over 5 million used mobile devices in 2019. With the proceeds of a $150 million debt facility it closed in January 2020, the Company plans to continue to invest in its kiosk footprint and technology, expanding its kiosk network across the United States and Europe. The Company generates revenue by reselling used mobile devices to wholesale channels and directly to retail customers through its online Gazelle.com platform and other online marketplaces.
Guggenheim Securities LLC and The Raine Group served as financial advisors and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP acted as legal advisor to ecoATM and Apollo. Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP acted as legal advisor to CSI.
New ecoATM Board Member Biographies
Ewa Kozicz: Ms. Kozicz is the Co-Head of Cowen Sustainable Advisors (“CSI”) and has more than two decades of investment experience across asset classes and sectors, including significant expertise in agriculture, industrials, and financial services. Before joining CSI, she held various executive and leadership positions at BlackRock and Goldman Sachs.
Vusal Najafov: Mr. Najafov is the Co-Head of Cowen Sustainable Advisors (“CSI”) and has two decades of experience investing across asset classes and sectors including significant expertise in energy, transport, and financial services. He has applied data analytics throughout his career and has held various portfolio management and leadership positions at Goldman Sachs, Highbridge, and Indus Capital.
A pioneer of mobile device reCommerce, ecoATM offers consumers fast, convenient and safe ways to sell their used mobile devices through its automated ecoATM kiosks in retail locations across the United States, now expanding into Europe, and through its Gazelle.com online site. As part of its consumer reuse mission, it also offers consumers an easy way to purchase certified pre-owned mobile devices through its Gazelle.com online marketplace. Learn more about ecoATM at www.ecoatm.com and www.gazelle.com.
Apollo is a leading global alternative investment manager with offices in New York, Los Angeles, Houston, Bethesda, London, Frankfurt, Madrid, Luxembourg, Singapore, Mumbai, Delhi Shanghai, San Diego, Tokyo and Hong Kong. Apollo had assets under management of approximately $331 billion as of December 31, 2019 in private equity, credit and real estate funds invested across a core group of nine industries where Apollo has considerable knowledge and resources. For more information about Apollo, please visit www.apollo.com.
Cowen Sustainable Advisors is a division of Cowen Inc. (“Cowen”). Cowen is a diversified financial services firm offering investment banking services, equity and credit research, sales and trading, prime brokerage, global clearing, commission management services and actively managed alternative investment products. Cowen focuses on delivering value-added capabilities to our clients in order to help them outperform. Founded in 1918, Cowen is headquartered in New York and has offices worldwide. Learn more at www.cowen.com.