PE Firm Apollo Buys Alcohol Breath Test Company from ABRY Partners

Posted on 11/09/2021

The timing is near perfect as U.S. Congress passed the $1 trillion infrastructure package bill. Part of the bill includes improving auto safety and in the legislation it reads that monitoring systems would likely be mandated in all new cars starting as early as 2026.

Funds managed by Apollo Global Management entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Global IID Holdco, LLC and its subsidiaries, including 1A Smart Start, LLC , a global provider of alcohol monitoring solutions. Founded in 1992, Grapevine, Texas-based Smart Start is a global provider of alcohol monitoring programs utilizing ignition interlock devices to prevent vehicles from starting if the driver’s alcohol concentration reaches a predetermined level. The programs have been proven to save lives by reducing alcohol-related traffic crashes; since inception, Smart Start has prevented over 10 million engine starts where alcohol was detected. With Apollo’s capital and resources, Smart Start will seek to deepen its market-leading position across both in-vehicle and out-of-vehicle alcohol monitoring solutions, further enhancing the impact of the business.

The investment was made through Apollo’s Impact platform. In 1992, Bettye and Jay D. Rodgers founded Smart Start. Smart Start operates through a combined company-owned and franchised platform. On August 21, 2015, Smart Start was acquired by ABRY Partners, becoming 1A Smart Start, LLC.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to be completed by year-end of 2021.

William Blair & Company, LLC acted as financial advisor and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP acted as legal counsel to the Apollo Funds. Jefferies LLC acted as financial advisor and Kirkland & Ellis LLP acted as legal counsel to Smart Start.

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