Carousel Plucks MedSpa Franchise –

In another deal that targets the franchise arena, Carousel Capital acquired Sona International, teaming with Mail Boxes Etc. Veteran Jim Amos for the buyout. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Sona is a franchisor of laser medical spa services, operating 21 outlets domestically that provide a wide range of laser services from hair removal to skin treatments for anti-aging, acne and cellulite. The company, founded in 1997, expects to have 50 franchised spas by the end of the year, and the company has signed contracts representing a total of 145 domestic locations overall.

The acquisition of Sona represents Carousel’s second franchise buyout in the last 12 months. The purchase follows in the footsteps of the firm’s investment in Meineke, which ultimately spawned the Sona investment. The deal was brought to Carousel by Amos, who also serves as a Meineke Boardmember.

William Hobbs, a partner at the firm, said Carousel’s interest in franchise businesses “really stems from the diversity of cash flow these companies offer as well as the growth opportunities represented.”

For this investment, Carousel was particularly charmed by the chance to align itself with Amos, whose franchising track record includes stints as the chairman of the International Franchise Association and, most recently, as the president and CEO of Mail Boxes Etc. With the transfer of ownership to Carousel, Amos will take on the role of chairman and CEO for Sona.

Founders Dennis and Patricia Jones will stay on with Sona in executive roles, while Heather Rose will assume the position of chief operating officer.

Through the investment, Carousel hopes to capitalize on the growth seen in the laser medspa industry, which has already benefited from advances in laser technology and a budding acceptance from consumers. “Sona’s positioned to take advantage of the growing interest in cosmetic skin care,” Hobbs said. “For physicians and dermatologists, laser hair removal and skin treatment is more of an ancillary service. Sona provides a patient-friendly spa setting and its services are much more reasonably priced.”

Carousel acquired Sona in an all equity deal, with Amos and company management contributing to the funding for the transaction. The firm did not disclose the purchase price, although Hobbs did say the firm typically makes investments of between $10 million and $30 million. Carousel invested out of its Carousel Capital Partners II fund.


Buyer: Carousel Capital

Target: Sona International

Legal Counsel: Carousel: Kennedy, Covington, Lobdell & Hickman

Accountant: Carousel: PricewaterhouseCoopers