Theoretical design of global optimization algorithms can profitably utilize recent statistical mechanical treatments of potential energy surfaces (PES's). Here we analyze a particular method to explain its success in locating global minima on surfaces with a multiple-funnel structure, where trapping in local minima with different morphologies is expected. We find that a key factor in overcoming trapping is the transformation applied to the PES which broadens the thermodynamic transitions. The global minimum then has a significant probability of occupation at temperatures where the free energy barriers between funnels are surmountable.