Tucson-based car wash chain to change hands

2014-08-19T00:00:00Z 2014-08-19T09:18:56Z Tucson-based car wash chain to change handsBy David Wichner Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
August 19, 2014 12:00 am  • 

Tucson-based Mister Car Wash, one of the nation’s biggest and fastest-growing car-wash chains, will change hands in a deal that will net its private-equity investor owners about $380 million.

ONCAP, an investment fund set up by Toronto-based Onex Corp., has agreed to sell Mister Car Wash Holdings Inc., Onex said last week in an earnings report.

Onex didn’t identify the buyer or the purchase price, and company officials declined to comment on the deal.

However, a premerger notification filing with the Federal Trade Commission in late July identified the buyer as Green Equity Investors VI L.P., a $6 billion private-equity investment fund of Los Angeles-based Leonard Green & Partners L.P.

ONCAP is expected to net about $380 million from the sale, of which Onex’s share is expected to be about $150 million or about eight times its invested capital, Onex said in a news release.

The U.S. car wash industry is estimated to be worth $8.2 billion annually and is growing at a 3 percent annual rate, according to the Mister Car Wash.

The original Mister Car Wash opened in Houston, Texas, in 1969.

In 1996, Car Wash Partners was formed by the investment firm Brown, McMillan & Co. to create a nationwide car-wash company through acquisitions.

ONCAP, Onex’s mid-market private-equity arm, acquired the company in 2007 and since then, the company has roughly doubled in size to 134 car washes and 32 quick-lube centers in 14 states.

Mister Car Wash recently moved its corporate headquarters from the Foothills to a 1950s-era building near downtown, the former First Baptist Church education building at 222 E. Fifth St.

The company has about 75 local employees and some 4,500 companywide.

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