Levine Leichtman sells Fastsigns to LightBay, Freeman Spogli after four years

  • Jordan Co and Jordan Industries bought Fastsigns in 1998
  • Roark Capital acquired Fastsigns in 2003
  • Levine Leichtman invested in Fastsigns in 2014

Fastsigns International Inc, which provides signs, banners and graphics to businesses and organizations, has found itself owned by a private equity firm for the fourth time in its 34-year history.

LightBay Capital and Freeman Spogli said March 13 that they partnered to buy Fastsigns. Terms weren’t disclosed.

Founded in 1985, Fastsigns is the Carrollton, Texas, franchisor operating more than 700 locations in nine countries. The company is led by CEO Catherine Monson.

The two investment firms’ “franchising industry expertise, network of relationships and capital will be a valuable resource as we embark on a significant expansion of our footprint,” Monson said in a statement.

Levine Leichtman Capital Partners exited after a more than four-year hold. The Los Angeles firm in 2014 used its fifth flagship, which closed on $1.65 billion that year, to buy Fastsigns. In January, Levine Leichtman’s sixth flagship closed on $2.5 billion.

Fastsigns is the second deal for LightBay, a firm founded in 2017 by Nav Rahemtulla and Adam Stein, former members of Ares Management private equity. The PE firm invested in Boardroom Salon for Men in August. LightBay’s debut fund closed on $615 million in 2018.

While LightBay is a new firm, Freeman Spogli is a veteran, founded in 1983 by Bradford Freeman and Ambassador Ronald Spogli. Freeman Spogli recapped CRH Healthcare in December. The Los Angeles firm has been fundraising for its latest flagship. FS Equity Partners VIII LP has raised $1.06 billion, a November SEC filing said.

For Fastsigns, the transaction represents its next phase of PE ownership. Jordan Co and Jordan Industries International acquired Fastsigns in 1998, according to PitchBook.

Roark Capital Group bought Fastsigns in October 2003 and held it for more than 10 years, Buyouts reported. Roark invested $15 million in Fastsigns and returned $30 million through two recaps by the end of 2011, Buyouts said.

Fastsigns was then sold to Levine Leichtman invested in 2014.

Executives for Fastsigns, LightBay, Freeman Spogli and Levine Leichtman could not be reached for comment.

Action Item: For more information on Fastsigns: www.fastsigns.com/