BY Richard Summerfield
American auto parts company LKQ Corporation is to acquire Stahlgruber GmbH from Stahlgruber Otto Gruber AG in a $1.77bn deal, the companies have announced in a statement.
Chicago-based LKQ will fund the deal from planned debt offerings, borrowings under its current credit facility and direct issuance of 8.06 million newly issued LKQ shares to Stahlgruber's owner. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2018.
The acquisition will greatly improve LKQ’s standing in Europe where Stahlgruber is a leading wholesale distributor of aftermarket spare parts for passenger cars, tools, capital equipment and accessories. LKQ will also gain access to Stahlgruber’s extensive sales and manufacturing infrastructure within Europe. Stahlgruber’s facilities include 228 sales centres, six warehouses and an approximately 128,000 square metre advanced logistics centre. The deal is the latest in a string of acquisitions made by LKQ; in 2015, it completed a $1.14bn deal for Rhiag-Inter Auto Parts Italia S.p.A.
“This transformative acquisition solidifies LKQ as a leading Pan-European aftermarket mechanical parts distributor, and further enhances our global diversification strategy,” said Dominick Zarcone, president and chief executive of LKQ. “Stahlgruber has a history of delivering above-market growth and its stellar industry reputation is an ideal fit with our culture; we are extremely proud to welcome the approximately 6600 Stahlgruber employees to the LKQ family. Importantly, we believe that our combined efforts will create tremendous long-term value for our customers and stockholders and growth opportunities for our collective team members.”
John S. Quinn, chief executive and managing director of LKQ Europe, said: “Stahlgruber will create a contiguous footprint and serve as an additional strategic hub for our European operations, allowing for continued improvement in procurement, logistics and infrastructure optimisation. The LKQ Europe management team and I look forward to working with Stahlgruber’s management team and leveraging our combined best practices to maximise the benefits of scale across the continent.”
Heinz Reiner Reiff, chief executive of Stahlgruber, said: “This combination is a natural fit for both LKQ and Stahlgruber. I am very excited about the meaningful benefits that will occur by combining our complementary cultures and industry leading management, which together position Stahlgruber to achieve the continued growth of its European businesses. Our acceptance of LKQ shares as part of the consideration emphasises our belief in the value of this combination.”
The automotive parts sector has seen considerable activity recently, which may have spurred LKQ into action. In September, the firm’s largest rival, Genuine Parts, entered a definitive agreement to acquire the Alliance Automotive Group for $2bn.