BRUSSELS, Belgium — Bridgestone Corp. has acquired a minority ownership stake in the holding company for the Pitstop auto service chain active in Germany as part of a plan to expand its cooperation with Pitstop.
Bridgestone said its decision to buy into Kulas Holding G.m.b.H., which holds 100 percent in pitstop.de G.m.b.H., is tied to plans the companies have to cooperate closely in sectors of mobility solutions, tire and workshop services to open new markets.
Terms were not disclosed. The targeted investment is subject to German antitrust approval, Bridgestone said.
"For many years, Bridgestone and Pitstop have been working together very successfully," Pitstop Managing Director Stefan Kulas said.
"We as a workshop service provider have been thinking of how we can further develop our business to provide our customers with even better service, efficiency and convenience, considering the rapid developments in the mobility sector," he said. "In addition to traditional workshop and tire services, we want to be active in the market of mobility solutions. Bridgestone is the ideal partner to bring this vision to life."
Founded in 1970, Pitstop operates 330 shops with 1,400 employees in 230 cities throughout Germany. The chain carries several major tire brands, including Bridgestone, Continental, Firestone, Goodyear, Hankook, etc.
"We are very pleased to strengthen our cooperation with Pitstop and serve new segments in the market," Christian Mühlhäuser, managing director, Bridgestone Central Region, said.
"Our core business is the traditional tire trade, but we are expanding into new opportunities in the mobility sector. In order to establish these, we decided to expand our long-lasting partnership.
"With Pitstop, we have a very strong partner whose platform will enable us to successfully establish our innovative mobility solutions in the market."
Pitstop offers an extensive branch network that is represented in all major metropolitan areas, Mr. Mühlhäuser said, and "embodies agility and innovation" when it comes to aligning its own portfolio to the customer and market demands.
Pitstop will continue to be active in the market under its own brand and under the direction of majority shareholder Stefan Kulas.