January 15, 2014, 10:14 AM

E-retailer Discount Ramps sells a majority stake to an investment firm

Founder Joel Lederhause retains ‘significant’ ownership, will serve on the board of directors and act as a strategic consultant.

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Discount Ramps founder Joel Lederhause

Discount Ramps LLC sold a majority ownership position to private equity investment firm Rotunda Capital Partners last week. The new ownership team includes company founder Joel Lederhause and Rotunda’s operating executive Larry Marmon, who becomes CEO of Discount Ramps.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Web-only retailer Discount Ramps, No. 461 in the Internet Retailer 2013 Top 500 Guide, had $23.6 million in sales in 2012, up by 14% from $20.7 million in the prior year.

Lederhause will serve on the company’s board of directors and as a strategic consultant to the company and retain a “significant” ownership share, Rotunda says. Bob Krolski will continue as chief operating officer and Pat Davidson, formerly the senior vice president of sales, marketing and e-business for W.W. Grainger Inc. (No. 15 in the Top 500), will join the board as an independent director.

Rotunda’s understanding of e-commerce, catalog and distribution businesses and its successful history of working with family businesses make it an ideal partner, Lederhause says. “Partnering with Rotunda strongly positions us to continue executing our expansion plan,” he says.

Rotunda’s investments include companies in such fields as specialty finance, logistics and distribution, government and business services. Investments include Worldwide Express Inc., which Rotunda sold to another investment group in August 2013, a reseller of UPS global air and ground shipping services for U.S.-based small and medium-sized businesses, and Financial Pacific Co., a specialty commercial finance company that provides lease financing to small businesses in the U.S. through a network of independent brokers.

The collaboration with Rotunda Capital enables Discount Ramps to make key business improvements, Marmon says. “A priority in 2014 is to improve our customer’s shopping experience through an enhanced web site and expanded product offering,” he says.

From 2005-2008 Marmon was president of automotive parts retailer J.C. Whitney, which sold through the web and catalogs. Since then he worked for several marketing firms and operated an independent marketing consulting firm.

Discount Ramps sells products for loading, hauling and transporting all-terrain vehicles and motorcycles and other equipment. It offers more than 11,000 products and primarily serves the power sport, medical, recreational, commercial, transportation, military and industrial markets.

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