AKRON — The wholesale tire business in the U.S. has experienced more upheaval in the past nine months than it had in perhaps the previous several decades.
Two of the three largest wholesalers today didn't exist nine months ago;
The industry's largest wholesaler, American Tire Distributors Inc. (ATD), lost two of its largest suppliers and ended up filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection; and
Two of the biggest competitors in the market — Goodyear and Bridgestone Americas — are now partners in the wholesale distribution arena.
Michelin North America Inc. (MNA) and Sumitomo Corp. of Americas (SCOA) kicked off the year of upheaval in January when they announced the formation of National Tire Wholesale (NTW), a 50-50 joint venture that combines Michelin's TCi wholesale distribution activities with the Carroll Tire wholesale assets of TBC Corp. (an SCOA company).
The deal, valued at $1.52 billion, involved Michelin acquiring a 50-percent stake in TBC Corp. by means of a $630 million cash payment along with its TCi assets.
The NTW venture, an operating company of SCOA's TBC business, is considered the second-largest player in the U.S. wholesale tire market, combining Michelin's 85 TCi and TBC's 59 Carroll Tire wholesale distribution locations.