Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis Takes His Company Public

Camping World Holdings, a recreational vehicle dealership, made headlines when its CEO, Marcus Lemonis, took the company public last week. The initial public offering raised a staggering $251 million.

Lemonis, who owns 38 million shares of the company, intends to maintain his majority control, but offered about 11.4 million shares at $23 to the public. Camping World is the biggest RV retailer in the company, cornering a market of the almost 11 million children and adults who attend camps every year.

Since 2011, the company has opened 13 new locations and acquired and integrated 30 more. Annual revenues last year were $3.3 billion, and sales at locations at least one year old were up about 13%.

Lemonis invests in and consults for many businesses on CNBC’s “The Profit.” Just one year ago he told CNBC that he wasn’t partial to taking his companies public:

“I think the fundamental challenge that a business has to really face when it’s thinking about going public or not is: Are you going to change the way you think about the business, and your philosophy?” he said. “And are you going to change the way you run the business?”

For his part, the answer is no. Lemonis has said that he plans to use the $251 million in raised capital to pay down company debt, and specified that he does not want to change the fundamental philosophies guiding Camping World.

“If you change the philosophy, you change the way you think about earnings or you change the way you think about revenue, by definition, the results have a high likelihood of changing,” said Lemonis. “I’m not willing to take that chance.”

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