MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Sept. 22, 2003) — TBC Corp. has signed a definitive agreement to buy National Tire & Battery (NTB) from Sears, Roebuck and Co. for about $260 million, the companies said.
With the deal, the Memphis-based private brand marketer will acquire 226 retail tire and automotive centers in 20 states, pushing its total store count to 1,144. The NTB stores will be folded into TBC's Riviera Beach, Fla.-based Tire Kingdom Inc. subsidiary, which already has 357 locations. TBC's other subsidiary, Big O Tires Inc., operates 561 franchised outlets.
TBC said the NTB stores generate annual revenues of more than $425 million—while Sears' overall revenue was $41.4 billion last year. Sears said the $260 million price tag includes $35 million for assets TBC will acquire. The sale—which Sears Chairman and CEO Alan J. Lacy called “a further refinement of Sears' focus on our core business strategy”—is expected to close in the fourth quarter. Once that happens, TBC expects the transition to take six to eight months.
Mr. Lacy added that the company believes “this sale is in the best interests of Sears and its customers,” while NTB “will benefit from being a part of the broader 900-store TBC network.”
Upon completion of the transaction, TBC said, “substantially all of the approximately 3,500 employees of NTB” will become TBC employees.
“The acquisition of NTB enables us to expand our national footprint by 25 percent with the addition of strong, profitable retail locations in many attractive markets where we currently do not operate,” said Larry Day, TBC president and CEO. “With the purchase of NTB, we will make a strong entrance into the Texas market with 36 stores in Dallas, Houston and Austin as well as into Illinois with 19 locations in the greater Chicago area.”
TBC also looks for gains in the Washington, D.C., area and in Ohio, among others.
Besides the expanded geographic reach, Mr. Day said he expects the acquisition will broaden the scope of the private brands offered by TBC, including Sigma, Multi-Mile, Vanderbilt, Cordovan and Fulda.
Earlier this year, TBC added 112 locations from Merchant's Tire and Auto to Tire Kingdom's ranks. This summer, company officials said they were pursuing acquisitions.