WAI Completes Acquisition Of Gill Ashton Publishing

Wolters-Althoff Investments, LLC closed on January 1 its previously announced acquisition of and Gill Ashton Publishing, LLC. WAI, based in Chicago, is the private equity and venture capital arm of the Wolters Family Office headed by former owner and founder of CookTek, Bob Wolters. Evanston, Ill.-based GAP owns Foodservice Equipment Reports and other foodservice equipment- and supplies-oriented media. GAP President and FER Publisher Robin Ashton will continue to lead the media company while maintaining an interest in it.

“This is an important strategic acquisition for WAI,” said WAI CEO Wolters. “We see great synergies between GAP’s award-winning product-oriented content and our other portfolio companies in the foodservice space, particularly Specifi and Ignitor Labs.”

“We’re excited to be moving forward with WAI,” Ashton said. “The deal allows us to transition from our 20-year relationship with the Gill family, our founding partners. WAI is committed to enhancing and growing our current products and brands. And we’re all intrigued by how we might apply our existing content assets and expertise using WAI’s portfolio companies’ technology platforms to create value for everyone in the E&S buying and specification chain.”

Last year, WAI acquired the global MasterChef software and services business from Render Image Srl. This business, now known as Specifi, LLC, with bases in Chicago and Venice, Italy, provides the only global, end-to-end solution supporting the foodservice equipment specification process. It includes a complete information repository as well as a comprehensive set of publishing, design, quotation and process/workflow tools. Each Specifi component can be operated as a stand-alone service alongside existing tools or as part of a complete end-to-end kitchen design/specification platform.

WAI previously bought Ignitor Lab, based in Schaumburg, Ill. Delivered anytime, anywhere, on any device, in any language, using a proprietary technology platform, Ignitor Labs’ solutions enable restaurant operators and their service partners to more efficiently operate their restaurants and support critical equipment.

“The addition of GAP to the foodservice portfolio of companies is a natural extension of WAI’s strategy to deliver innovative digital solutions to restaurant operators and their suppliers to help them design, build, manage, maintain and optimize their restaurants,” Wolters said. “Furthermore, Robin Ashton and his team’s collective knowledge of the industry will be invaluable to the WAI leadership team.”

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