By Jeffrey Buck
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(DETROIT) – Rockbridge Growth Equity, LLC, a Detroit-based private equity firm, announced that it has signed a purchase agreement to partner with management in acquiring Gas Station TV (GSTV), one of the fastest-growing media networks for reaching on-the-go consumers.
Founded in 2006 and located in Birmingham, Michigan, GSTV is America’s No. 1 video network at the pump with 50 million monthly viewers. GSTV engages, influences and drives consumers to action with exclusive content from ESPN, CNN’s Headline News and Buzz Today, Bloomberg TV, and AccuWeather at fuel retailers across the country. Its growing viewership continues to solidify video at the pump as an exemplary platform to reach a captivated, real-time audience.
Rockbridge Growth Equity is leading the transaction. Other investors include Falcon Investments and Michigan Growth Capital Partners, co-managed by Grosvenor Capital Management and Beringea. The deal is expected to close in the coming weeks pending regulatory approval.
Rockbridge was founded in 2007 by partners Brian Hermelin, Kevin Prokop and Dan Gilbert, who is also founder and chairman of Rock Ventures LLC and Quicken Loans Inc. The firm invests in companies that specialize in financial and technology services, as well as digital media and consumer-direct marketing.
“Investing in an industry-leading and growing company like GSTV is a natural fit for Rockbridge,” said Prokop, who also serves as managing director. “GSTV’s management team have proven video at the pump to be a successful media growth category, and GSTV has emerged as the clear leader in the space.”
GSTV has grown its gas station network from a five-station pilot in Dallas to more than 2,600 stations in 42 states. The company has increased its revenues 35 percent annually since 2009. In addition, GSTV has tripled its advertiser base and counts numerous Fortune 500 companies in the automotive, retail, consumer packaged goods, and personal finance industries among its clients. The partnership will leverage the Rock Ventures Family of Companies’ expertise in technology, marketing services and digital media to further accelerate growth.
“Partnering with Rockbridge empowers us to build upon our leadership position in the industry and bring a GSTV screen to every community in the country,” said David Leider, GSTV CEO. “Together with Rockbridge we’ll continue to drive strong return on investment for our advertisers and gas station retailers, while providing an exceptional content experience for our viewers.” David Leider leads GSTV along with the management team of Stephen Kuehn, CFO and COO, and Mo Alcaptan, Executive Vice President.
“We were happy to help support Rockbridge Growth Equity in their acquisition of Gas Station TV. The transaction represents an important milestone for another rapidly growing Michigan firm,” said Beringea senior managing director and co-founder Charles Rothstein. “With its expanding network of locations and advertisers, GSTV presents an exciting investment opportunity.”
Barclays PLC served as the exclusive financial advisor to GSTV. RBS Citizens arranged the senior debt facilities in partnership with First Merit and Flagstar Bank.
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By Jeffrey Buck
If you haven’t heard already, the Detroit’s Historic Fort Wayne will be playing host to Oakaloosa Music Festival on Saturday, July 27. This first ever event is showcasing some of Detroit’s newest and brightest musicians and one of those musicians could be you!
Rapt.fm, a rap/tech startup in Detroit with backing from Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert, will be holding a contest now through July 24 with the winner getting to perform at the festival along with artists like Girl Talk, Royce Da 5’9 and Bone-Thugs-n-Harmony. Rapt.fm is currently accepting rap submissions by uploading videos to Youtube and filling out the accompanying form by clicking here.
Having already been featured on Fox 2 News, Tech Crunch, VentureBeat, Crain’s Detroit and BBC Radio, Rapt.fm hopes to bring people together from all over the world to freestyle against each other and have a good time doing it. Its goal is to be an outlet for those unsigned artists to get discovered. Rapt.fm will also focus on being a gathering place for popular artists – rappers and non-rappers alike – to be able to interact directly with their fans.
Oakaloosa Music Festival will take place from noon to midnight on July 27 and feature two stages full of music, the Sachse Construction Stage (along the River) and the Budweiser Stage (inside the Fort). The proceeds from the festival will not only support the non-profit Historic Fort Wayne Coalition, but also Defeat the Label, the Detroit Recreation Department and the festival’s non-profit producer, Detroit Sports Zone, Inc.
Festival tickets are currently on sale through Oakaloosa.com for $45 for general admission and $55 for a VIP ticket, which includes a VIP entry, bar area and viewing location during the festival. Parking will be available in the Oakaloosa Festival parking lot for $10 a car. Free bicycle valet will be provided courtesy of Wheelhouse Detroit.
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