Here’s the story behind Pep Boys buying Just Brakes

Chances are you’re already aware that Pep Boys recently bought the Just Brakes chain of auto repair and maintenance stores. It was a straight-up acquisition that was completed late on January 20. Traction News spoke with Jo Bourjally, Pep Boys’ director of integrated communications, to get more information about the buyout.

Pep Boys thrilled to grow their organization

Just Brakes was privately held by a group of three investment companies based out of Dallas: Hicks Equity Partners, Gemini Investors, and Monhegan Partners. The company is now wholly-owned by Pep Boys. The purchase of the 134 Just Brakes’ locations in eight states and 14 major metropolitan markets brings the total number of Pep Boys’ stores to over 900 in 43 states.

President and chief executive officer of Pep Boys, Brent Windom said: “We are thrilled to celebrate this major milestone in the growth of our combined organization. Adding to our portfolio over 130 stores in strategic locations allows us to strengthen our presence in target markets, including Dallas and Atlanta, and demonstrates our steadfast commitment to growing our service business.”

Windom went on to say: “We welcome Just Brakes’ talented and dedicated team of more than 500 automotive experts to the family, and we are pleased to announce Bill Ihnken, former CEO of Just Brakes, as our president of service. We look forward to working together to leverage the combined strengths of our companies, including our joint focus on taking care of customers as we convert all Just Brakes’ locations to Pep Boys Service and Tire Centers, offering a full range of services, such as oil changes, tire installations, brake repair, and suspension work.”

Pep Boys Felt the Need to Expand Their Footprint

Bourjally told Traction News that “expanding our footprint was the reason behind our decision to purchase Just Brakes at this time.”

“There is very little overlap between where Pep Boys and Just Brakes operate, so there shouldn’t be a need to close many stores.”

Bourjally also said that the Just Brakes’ locations will be re-branded to Pep Boys stores as soon as possible. Additonally, she said that this name change would also come with a change in the type and variety of merchandise available at the locations that are currently Just Brakes. She wasn’t sure, however if all Just Brakes’ locations would acquire the same amount of accessories and non-hard parts that the current Pep Boys stores carry.

The eight states where Just Brakes operates are Texas, Florida, Arizona, New Mexico, Georgia, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada. The major metro markets involved are:

• Waco-Temple-Bryan, TX
• Austin, TX
• Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX
• Houston, TX
• Atlanta, GA
• Tampa-St. Petersburg-Sarasota, FL
• Denver, CO
• Phoenix, AZ
• Las Vegas, NV
• Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne, FL
• San Antonio, TX
• Lubbock, TX
• Albuquerque-Santa Fe, NM
• Reno, NV
• Colorado Springs-Pueblo, CO
• West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce, FL
• Jacksonville, FL
• Saint George, UT
• Tucson-Nogales, AZ
• Ft. Myers-Naples, FL

Bourjally said that some sort of marketing campaign to inform customers of the changeover from Just Brakes to Pep Boys will be performed, but there wasn’t any word on what this would entail as yet.

Almost a year since Pep Boys bought by Icahn

Pep Boys was bought by Icahn Enterprises L.P last February. As a condition of the merger with Just Brakes, Pep Boys stock will no longer be sold on any exchange. Icahn stock is traded on the NASDAQ exchange (IEP). The merger was completed to the tune of $1.03 billion in total equity value, which amounts to $18.50 per share.

Icahn has a wholly-owned subsidiary called Auto Plus into which the Pep Boys’ property was folded. Bourjally told Traction News that Icahn has been in acquisition mode since the purchase of Pep Boys last year and that we can expect word of more purchases and mergers in the future. Some of these acquisitions will come under the banner of the Pep Boys name, while others will come under the banner of Auto Plus.

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