What a difference a few months makes. Purple, an Alpine-based bedding manufacturing startup that got into the mattress business in earnest just over a year ago, has announced a merger with Global Partner Acquisition Corp. (GPAC) of Thornwood, New York, that values the company at $1.1 billion.
The deal is known as a “reverse merger” and would result in Purple becoming a publicly traded company overnight without the formal IPO process. At the close of the transaction, GPAC will add $90 million to the company coffers and take a 14 percent stake in the company.
Brothers Tony and Terry Pearce transformed their wheelchair business into a direct-to-consumer mattress company using proprietary gel technology that they invented. In just the past year Purple went from a team of 30 to over 600 people, built out an enormous manufacturing facility in Grantsville and more than tripled its net revenue to a projected $187 million in 2017.
The brothers still own a sizable stake in the company and industry insiders are estimating that they will net something around $850 million when the deal is done.
According to Forbes, the Pearces had been speaking with private equity firms and venture capital firms for a long time, looking for investors that could put money into the company and enable its continued fast growth, but had been in no hurry to sign a deal.
The merger deal allows the Pearce brothers to maintain control of the company, with CEO Sam Bernard at the helm. The company said in a statement it would be “pursuing partnerships and opportunities to support its multi-channel distribution strategy,” including an ongoing test with brick-and-mortar outlet Mattress Firm, which has approximately 3,500 locations across the U.S.
GPAC CEO Paul Zepf said his firm was “excited” by Purple’s financial model and that it “displays a unique combination of growth, scale and profitability. I believe Purple is a tremendous merger partner for GPAC, given its powerful brand and highly differentiated portfolio of comfort technology solutions. The company’s revolutionary products, vertically integrated design and manufacturing expertise, and world-class marketing capabilities ideally position the company to disrupt multiple massive industries that are ripe for innovation.”
Terry Pearce said, “We are excited to become a publicly traded company through our merger with GPAC. The GPAC team is an ideal partner led by experienced public market investors and executives that will add significant value to Purple. We believe Purple is uniquely positioned in the market and this transaction will allow us to better take advantage of our large market opportunity and continue our rapid, profitable growth.”