Auto Parts Love Triangle: Icahn Offers $837M For Pep Boys, One-Upping Bridgestone’s $835M Bid

Love triangles are generally a plot device used in movies and television shows to keep viewers’ eyes glued to the screen, screaming for their preferred suitor to win out. Recently, though, the messy affairs have infiltrated the mergers and acquisitions realm with the months-long dollar store war – Dollar General and Dollar Tree fighting over Family Dollar. Today, that trend continued with the company behind Auto Plus offering to buy the already betrothed Pep Boys retail operations out from under Bridgestone. 

The Wall Street Journal reports that Icahn Enterprises offered to pay $837 million ($15.50/share) for Manny, Moe and Jack, trumping Bridgestone’s $835 million ($15/share) bid made back in October.

Pep Boys previously agreed to sell 800 retail locations to Bridgestone, which operates 2,200 tire and car service centers in the U.S. Bridgestone currently operates retail locations under the Firestone Complete Auto Care, Tires Plus, Hibdon Tires Plus and Wheel Works brand banners.

“We believe our proposal is clearly superior to the… Bridgestone transaction and that our financial wherewithal to close expeditiously is indisputable,” Icahn Enterprises wrote in a letter to Pep Boys on Monday, no doubt throwing a bit of shade Bridgestone’s way.

It appears that Icahn’s proposal was unexpected and unsolicited. However, CNBC reports that Pep Boys disclosed earlier in the day that Icahn had previously offered $13.50 per share for the company on an undisclosed date. Icahn reportedly said in October that it wouldn’t up its bid.

Still, the move to snatch away Pep Boys may have been slightly foreshadowed. Icahn disclosed on Friday that it had acquired a 12.1% stake in Pep Boys, a move Pep Boys said “raised concerns” that others could be targeting the retailer.

Additionally, on Friday Icahn said in an Securities and Exchange Commission filing that Pep Boy’s auto-parts division “presents an excellent synergistic acquisition opportunity” for Icahn’s Auto Plus brand.

Icahn Makes Higher Bid for Pep Boys [The Wall Street Journal]
Icahn proposes to buy Pep Boys for $15.50/share [CNBC]