WAI Completes Acquisition Of FER’s Parent, Gill Ashton Publishing

Gill Ashton Publishing, LLC, parent of Foodservice Equipment Reports and its foodservice equipment- and supplies-oriented media, including Worldwide Report, has been acquired by Wolters-Althoff Investments, LLC.

GAP was founded in 1996 when it began publishing FER magazine. 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. GAP President and FER Publisher Robin Ashton will continue to lead the Chicago-area media company while maintaining an interest in it.

“This is an important strategic acquisition for WAI,” said 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.”

Ashton agreed. “We’re excited to be moving forward with WAI,” he said. “They are 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. WAI previously bought Ignitor Lab, a proprietary technology platform enabling 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.


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