Japanese tire maker Bridgestone increases offer for Pep Boys chain


AFP

SAN FRANCISCO — Bridgestone raised its bid Thursday for U.S. auto service chain Pep Boys, a merger that would catapult it to the ranks of top players in the U.S. car maintenance business. Bridgestone, already the world’s largest tire maker, increased its offer for the U.S. company to US$17 per share, from its last offer of US$15.00.

The boosted bid brings the total value of the deal to about US$947 million, according to a press release from the two companies. Through the merger, Bridgestone would add Pep Boys’ 800 U.S. locations, and car maintenance services, to its own 2,200 U.S. outlets. “In addition to our long and successful histories in this industry, Pep Boys and Bridgestone share a common vision for the future — to continue to build upon this 100-year foundation to form an even stronger company, one that is renowned for its commitment to being the most trusted provider of automotive service in every neighborhood it serves,” said Stu Crum, president of Bridgestone Retail Operations. Bridgestone’s sweetened bid leaves open the possibility of a counter offer from activist investor Carl Icahn, who reportedly wants to combine the retail sales side of Pep Boys with his Auto Plus car parts network of 2,300 outlets.