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Meineke parent acquires Merlin franchise

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Feb. 25, 2014) — Meineke Car Care Centers franchisor Driven Brands Inc. has acquired the Merlin 200,000 Mile Shops automotive aftermarket franchise business, allowing Driven Brands to strengthen its presence in the Chicago metropolitan area.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

St. Charles, Ill.-based Merlin operates primarily in the suburbs of Chicago and adds 49 locations in four states to the Driven Brands portfolio.

"At Driven, we are committed to growing our presence through acquisitions of other brands or independents which can accelerate our exposure and growth," said Driven Brands President and CEO Jonathan Fitzpatrick.

"Merlin has a compelling business model and outstanding unit economics. We are excited about this addition to the Driven family and are confident this acquisition will result in a win-win for both customers and our brands alike."

Frank Smola, former president of Merlin 200,000 Miles, said: "It was time for the full potential behind our 200,000 Miles branding to be unleashed, which only a successful national player could do. We were extremely impressed with the high levels of talent, vision, and energy within the Driven Brands executive leadership team.

"Driven Brands truly understands franchising as well as Merlin's ongoing commitment to both franchisees and customer."

Driven Brands' chief information office Danny Rivera will be president of Merlin 200,000 Miles. Mr. Rivera expects his knowledge of day-to-day operations and business leadership will enable him to guide the chain to continued success, Driven Brands said.

"Adding Merlin to the Driven portfolio gives us breadth in the Chicago market with a great brand that has unique brand positioning and excellent unit economics," Mr. Rivera said. "I am looking forward to working with our franchisees to capitalize on the great brand positioning and product platforms that Merlin has built its reputation on."

The Merlin business originally was known as Merlin Muffler & Brake. Merlin's Franchising Inc. changed the name in 2006 to Merlin 200,000 Mile Shops to reflect the chain's effort to help drivers get the most life from their vehicles, the company said at the time.

The franchise has been in business since 1975.

Besides Meineke, Charlotte-baseed Driven Brands operates two other automotive aftermarket franchises — Maaco collision repair and auto painting, and Econo Lube & Tune auto repair/quick lube services — along with a franchised network of mobile services consisting of AutoQual, Aero-Colours and Drive N Style, specializing in automotive interior reconditioning and maintenance, paint refinishing and restyling services for car dealerships.

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