ImageFirst Deal

Aberdeen Advisors Closes Deal for ImageFirst

August 21, 2019

More than twenty years ago, Tim Ryan grew ImageFirst Tampa, a healthcare laundry franchise into a multimillion-dollar business with 117 employees, more than 1,000 clients, and 40,000 square feet of industrial laundry space in Clearwater.

In June, he sold it back to the company’s Philadelphia-based franchisor. There is strategic insight to be gained from the family business exit.

“With so much capital available, more private equity groups are buying franchisors, and in turn, the franchisors are buying strong franchisees as a growth strategy,” said Emery Ellinger, CEO at Aberdeen Advisors, who facilitated the deal. The company provides linen, patient gowns, and scrubs – along with inventory management services.

“Florida is one of the top healthcare markets in the country, which made ImageFirst Tampa’s Florida operation extremely attractive for a buyer,” he said.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Last October, private equity firm Calera Capital acquired a majority stake in ImageFirst. Founded in 1967, ImageFirst operates 36 locations nationwide that serve more than 11,000 medical facilities. The Tampa
operation was the most profitable nationally, Ellinger said.

In late July, Calera also bought two other ImageFirst franchises in the St. Louis and Portland-Seattle areas.

Tim’s son, J.C., will continue with ImageFirst Tampa. Clients include Florida Orthopedic Institute, Tower Imaging, and Suncoast Hospice.

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