Despite — or perhaps because of — the economic uncertainty tied to the COVID-19 pandemic throughout most of 2020, merger-and-acquisition activity played out at a high rate.
According to Tire Business calculations, as many as 340 retail and 32 commercial sales/service outlets changed hands during the year in addition to the pending sale of Les Schwab Tire Centers to Meritage Group L.P., a California- and New York-based investment group.
Mavis Tire Supply was at the center of two of the year's largest transactions.
In January, Millwood, N.Y.-based Mavis took over 112 NTB Tire stores in four major metro markets — Atlanta, Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia — from TBC Corp., expanding its scope to 761 company-operated outlets, operating under at least eight brand names, including NTB.
More recently, in late November Mavis and East Haven, Conn.-based Town Fair Tire Centers Inc. agreed to combine their operations under a common umbrella, creating a retail dealership with nearly 900 locations. The 100 Town Fair locations in New England will continue to operate under that name.
Mavis' market presence is enhanced through 125 or so franchised Express Oil/Tire Engineers locations. Among Mavis' Express Oil company-owned stores are 18 former Havoline Express Tire Pros outlets in Alabama the company purchased in early 2020.
GB Auto Service, the Tucson, Ariz.-based holding company owned by Greenbriar Equity Group L.P., expanded its scope to 177 retail outlets through five separate deals comprising 55 stores:
- Tate Boys Tire & Service, with seven stores in Oklahoma;
- Sun Devil Auto, with 32 auto repair shops in Arizona, Nevada and Texas;
- Reliable Automotive, with three locations in the San Antonio, Texas, area;
- Louetta Automotive, with 10 locations in the Houston area; and
- ServiceOne Automotive, with three locations in the Houston area.
Monro Inc., the acquisitions leader of the past several years, put that part of its business model on the back burner for much of the year before announcing in November a deal to buy Allen Tire Co., a longtime Goodyear dealer with 17 stores in Southern California.
Other deals worth noting:
Gills Point S Tire's purchased 10 Vianor-branded stores in New England from Nokian Tyres Inc., and Telle Tire & Auto Service acquired KC Complete Auto Service, with five stores in the Kansas City, Mo., metro area.
Among commercial tire dealerships:
- Pomp's Tire Service Inc. acquired 19 GCR Tires & Service (GCR) stores in nine upper Midwest and Great Plains states in January from Bridgestone Americas Inc., expanding the Green Bay, Wis.-based dealership's commercial network to 108 service locations across 11 states.
- El Paso, Texas-based Border Tire acquired Canyon Tire Sales, a Corona, Calif.-based dealership with five commercial outlets and a retread plant in southern California, expanding its scope of operations to 15 outlets and three retread plants.
- Jack's Tire & Oil Inc. of Logan, Utah, merged with A&E Tire Inc. of Colorado Springs, Colo., in April, creating a business with 17 locations and six Michelin Retread plants in five western states, capable of generating about $150 million.