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Speculation abounds as Carquest’s stores reportedly on the auction block

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 - 07:09

Their curiosity piqued, more than a few aftermarket insiders are on a quest for additional details following a dispatch from the Reuters wire service reporting that the Sloan family’s General Parts International, Inc. (GPI) is in the process of “auctioning off” its 1,400 company-owned Carquest stores, anticipating that the bidding could reach $2 billion.

The 2,000 independent Carquest outlets are not included in the proposed sale, according to Reuters, which cites three unnamed sources in describing the proposed transaction.

Numerous individuals and companies, including Carquest/GPI, either declined comment or had no response to interview requests.

However, a selection of aftermarket gurus with more than a century of industry expertise among them have formed a general consensus that a Carquest sale is likely to have little lasting impact – contingent, of course, on who does the buying. They spoke under conditions of anonymity.

“It shouldn’t surprise anyone that families are selling their businesses when they get to a certain size. Anytime you have a notable family like the Sloans selling their business, it creates a lot of interest, especially a company that’s the size of GPI. That’s a big footprint,” says one executive with a long history of analyzing industry mergers and acquisitions.

“For suppliers, probably nothing will change; Carquest will remain – it depends on who’s going to run it. If it’s an investment firm (rather than an existing aftermarket business), there will be less impact. You would not expect much to change externally. The face to the customer wouldn’t change at all. The Carquest brand has great cachet within the market, and I doubt if anyone would want to mess with that.”

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