Meineke Car Care Centers Inc. will be bought by members of Meineke management and two financial organizations for $68.5 million, the Charlotte-based automotive service chain said.
The deal is expected to close in 30 to 45 days, Meineke said.
In addition to some company managers, Charlotte-based Carousel Capital and Halifax Group, which has offices in Dallas and Washington, D.C., are buying the chain from its parent company, Brambles Parts Industries Corp. It is a subsidiary of Brambles Industries, which is based in Australia.
Meineke Car Care Centers-formerly called Meineke Discount Muffler Shops-operates more than 900 franchised service shops in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. The company began in 1972 with a single shop that specialized in exhaust work.
In a statement, Brambles said cash consideration of $68.5 million is payable upon completion of the sale and is subject to adjustment to reflect the level of working capital at that time.
Meineke's sales for the year ending June 30, 2002, were $35 million with earnings before interest, tax and amortization of $11 million, the company said.
``We believe this new ownership configuration will allow the company flexibility and provide opportunities for Meineke to expand and innovate,'' said Kenneth Walker, Meineke's president and CEO.
A spokesman said Meineke does not expect any immediate changes at its stores.
The new owners intend to expand the Meineke brand, both in the number of locations and the introduction of new services, according to Kenneth M. Doyle, a principal at Halifax Group.
Meineke outlets perform a wide range of automotive services, including exhaust, brake, steering and suspension, cooling system and tune-ups.
Among the services offered are tire rotation and balancing and wheel alignment. Some locations also sell tires. Exhaust service represents about 40 percent of a typical store's sales, Meineke said.
``Meineke is one of the most recognized brands in the automotive services sector,'' Mr. Doyle said. ``With more vehicles on the road, an aging national vehicle fleet and projected strong industry growth in branded automotive services, Meineke is well positioned to pursue growth opportunities.''
After the sale closes, representatives of Carousel and Halifax will hold non-executive board positions at Meineke, Carousel said.
The two investor groups also plan to add several independent members to Meineke's board in the coming months, the company said.
Antares Capital Corp. and Gleacher Mezzanine have provided commitments for the debt financing used in the transaction, Carousel said.
Carousel Capital is a private investment firm that invests in southeastern-based companies, Meineke said. It manages more than $300 million of capital.
Halifax Group is a private equity partnership with about $200 million of capital under management.
The group focuses on management-led recapitalizations and leveraged buyouts in middle-market growth industries.