NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Aug. 15, 2001)—Bridgestone/Firestone Inc.'s purchase of Morgan Tire & Auto Inc. will make BFS the largest retailer of tires in North America, with nearly 2,200 stores and nearly $2.8 billion in estimated tire, wheel and auto service related sales. Morgan Tire had been BFS's largest independent dealer with 558 stores in 25 states and estimated sales of between $750 million and $900 million.
The deal, for an undisclosed amount, will give BFS direct control over approximately one-third of its aftermarket passenger car and light truck tire sales, according to an analysis of available data.
Sears, Roebuck and Co. is considered the largest retailer of tires in North America now, with an estimated $2.25 billion in tire, wheel and auto service sales revenue from its nearly 1,100 Sears Auto Centers and National Tire & Battery outlets throughout the U.S. Sears also operates 67 auto centers in Canada.
Bridgestone/Firestone announced Aug. 9 it had acquired majority control—52 percent according to analysts covering Bridgestone—of Morgan Tire, after acquiring minority shares of the company gradually since 1998. BFS intends to buy full control by 2008, according to the analysts.
Morgan Tire operates under various names around the country—Olson Tire in Florida and Southeast; Hibdon Tire in Oklahoma; Avellino's in Pennsylvania; Wheel Works in California; Michel Tire throughout the Ohio Valley and in Florida; and Tires Plus in the Great Plains states—but the plan is to convert all stores to Tires Plus. Morgan Tire acquired the Tires Plus name in July 2000 when it bought Burnsville, Minn.-based Team Tires Plus Ltd.
Bridgestone/Firestone has not yet commented on its plans for dealing with situations where a Tires Plus store is located in close proximity to a Firestone Tire & Service center or other BFS-owned retail store (the company also operates stores under the Tire Station, Expert Tire and Mark Morris names).