The bidding war for Pep Boys is finally over after Bridgestone stepped aside to let Carl Icahn buy the automotive repair chain. The activist investor is shelling out $1 billion to buy it after battling the Japanese tire maker for several weeks.
Bridgestone gives in to Carl Icahn
Pep Boys and Icahn Enterprises expect the deal to close sometime in the first quarter of 2016. The all-cash offer was $18.50 per share, which was $1.50 more per share than what Bridgestone was willing to pay. Icahn Enterprises will have to pay the $39.5 million breakup fee that was in the previous definitive agreement Pep Boys had signed with Bridgestone.
That definitive agreement had been signed in October, although it came after months of talks between Pep Boys and Icahn. After the agreement was signed, Icahn bid $15.50 per share, but Bridgestone matched it, sparking a bidding war between the two. Icahn raised his bid again to $16.50 per share, only to be topped again by the Japanese tire maker, which bid $17 a share.
Then Icahn came down heavy, saying that his firm would be willing to pay up to $18.10 per share or $1 billion. He raised his bid yet again on Monday to $18.50 a share.
Pep Boys to merge with Auto Plus
The activist investor was especially interested in Pep Boys because he intends to merge it with Auto Plus, a competing automotive repair chain he already owns. It became apparent to Bridgestone that he just wasn’t going to let the chain get away, so the Japanese tire manufacturer exited the bidding war and instead accepted the consolation prize in the form of the breakup fee from the original definitive agreement with Pep Boys.
In a statement today, Icahn said that his firm had been looking for a company like Pep Boys to acquire and merge with Auto Plus since acquiring it in June. He added that he sees “enormous growth potential, strong brand recognition, and well-known, best-in-class customer service” in Pep Boys. After the merger with Auto Plus, significant synergies are expected.
Pep Boys has over 800 locations, but its tire business has been struggling and looking for ways to boost sales. The automotive repair chain put itself up for sale earlier this year.
The company’s stock slipped by as much as 2.96% to $18.39 per share this morning as investors were apparently disappointed that the bidding war didn’t drive a higher price than $18.50 a share.