LINCOLN, Neb.—Following Heafner Tire Group's April 20 declaration that it is acquiring the T.O. Haas Tire Co., one of the family-run dealership's principal stockholders announced a new venture of his own. Rick Haas, 46, son of founder T.O. Haas, has formed an investment banking enterprise—Equity Development Inc.—that will focus on selecting and investing in "quality businesses" throughout the country.
Formerly a senior vice president with the tire company, for the past couple years Rick Haas has been actively pursing acquisitions within the private sector. He will be CEO and an investment banker in his new firm.
Mr. Haas told Tire Business his game plan was accelerated by the pending Heafner buyout "as far as working in the private equities trade." He would not disclose how much stock he owned in T.O. Haas Tire, nor how much he'll realize from its sale.
An Equity Development press release said the firm has a "solid base with a number of key players"—including investors and lenders—"who will be very helpful in participating and developing a wide range of investments."
The new company, based in Lincoln, has already acquired a high-volume convenience store in western Iowa, which Mr. Haas described as having "an excellent location with good opportunities for growth."
"We'll be shopping for value, and not pursuing the `dot coms,'|" he added, referring to the recent market affinity for purchasing Internet companies.
As far as future pursuits, Mr. Haas said he "wouldn't rule out" investments in the tire industry, such as a dealership, "at the appropriate time."
His brother, Randy Haas, who had been president of T.O. Haas Tire, has been named president of Heafner Tire Group's T.O. Haas Division and will serve on Heafner's executive committee.