Published on December 12, 2013

Ex-TBC exec, partners buy Just Brakes

(Tire Business file photo by Sigmund J. Mikolajczyk)
Bill Ihnken

DALLAS (Dec. 12, 2013) — Former TBC Corp. executive Bill Ihnken, along with private equity firms Hicks Equity Partners, Gemini Investors and Monhegan Partners, have acquired the independent Just Brakes chain of more than 130 automotive service outlets.

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Just Brakes was founded in 1980 as one location in Bryan, Texas, and has since expanded into eight Southern states and 14 major markets with about 950 employees.

Besides brakes, Just Brakes offers an array of other automotive services, including: alignments; tire balancing and repair; oil and other fluid changes; suspension service; shocks and struts; front end and steering system repairs; etc., according to the firm's Web site. 

Mr. Ihnken will serve as CEO of Just Brakes. He left TBC last May after 12 years with the company — most recently as president and COO of TBC’s company-owned store division, which includes Tire Kingdom, National Tire & Battery (NTB) and Merchant’s Tire & Auto Centers.

Thomas O. Hicks, chairman and CEO of Hicks Equity Partners, will serve as chairman of the Just Brakes board of directors.

“Just Brakes is a well-recognized brand name operating in attractive markets that will serve as a wonderful platform for growth,” Mr. Ihnken said. “Hicks Equity Partners, Gemini Investors and Monhegan Partners bring the strategic and financial resources needed to capitalize on its significant potential.

“I am excited to lead Just Brakes and to collaborate with our dedicated employees and vendors to execute our long-term strategic plans, which include investments in training, expanded car care services, improved facilities and strategic acquisitions.”

Hicks Equity Partners is the private equity arm for Hicks Holdings L.L.C., a holding company for the Thomas O. Hicks family assets. Gemini Investors is a private equity firm that focuses on providing growth capital to, and financing recapitalizations of, established businesses in the lower middle market. Monhegan Partners is a private equity investment firm that acquires and builds middle market manufacturing, distribution and service businesses.

The Dallas-based chain broadened its service offerings in 2011 in a number of key markets to include factory scheduled maintenance based on auto makers' service and maintenance recommendations  and today offers an array of automotive services in many stores, including: tire repair; alignments; suspension service and repair/shocks and struts; oil and coolant changes; fuel system cleaning; etc.

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