The sixth largest independent tire dealership in the U.S. has a new owner. Golden Gate Capital, a San Francisco-based private equity investment firm, has purchased Express Oil Change LLC from Carousel Capital.
Based in Birmingham, Ala., Express Oil does business as Express Oil Change & Tire Engineers, Tire Engineers, Epperly Tire, Upton Tire, Trax Tire and Savannah Tire. It has 185 retail outlets, which ranks sixth on the Modern Tire Dealer 100 list of domestic independent tire dealers. Including franchise locations, the company has nearly 300 outlets and offers "total car care solutions" to customers across 15 states.
Express Oil has been a member of the Tire Alliance Groupe (TAG) since January 2016.
According to Golden Gate Capital, Express Oil will remain headquartered in Birmingham and continue to be led by its current management team, including Chief Executive Officer Ricky Brooks. Express Oil’s management and Carousel Capital will remain shareholders of the company. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Founded in 1979, Express Oil pioneered a unique operating model offering quick oil changes, automotive maintenance and repair, and tire sales and services, all under one roof. The Company’s focus is on delivering superior customer service with the highest level of integrity and quality in every interaction.
“We are delighted to partner with Golden Gate Capital, which is fully supportive of our long-term strategic plan and appreciates our deep-rooted commitment to exceptional customer service and providing the highest quality automotive products and services,” says Brooks. “I am extremely proud of the strong foundation we established throughout our decade-long partnership with Carousel Capital, and believe that with Golden Gate Capital’s support we are well-positioned to maintain our momentum as we pursue our growth strategy.”
Josh Olshansky, a managing director at Golden Gate Capital, says the firm had been evaluating investment opportunities in the automotive aftermarket space for several years. “We look forward to supporting Ricky and Express Oil’s best-in-class management team as the Company enters its next chapter of growth.”
Jason Schmidly, managing partner of Carousel Capital, says Express Oil "has consistently executed on its growth strategy, including generating industry-leading organic growth and expanding through the successful integration of numerous acquisitions" under the leadership of Brooks and his management team. "We are confident that the company has a bright future ahead, and are pleased to have the opportunity to remain a part of their future success.”
Certain funds managed by Guggenheim Partners Investment Management, LLC and Antares Capital provided debt financing in connection with the transaction; Ropes & Gray LLP and Nob Hill Law Group P.C. served as legal advisors to Golden Gate Capital. Harris Williams & Co. served as financial advisor, and K&L Gates LLP and Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP served as legal advisors to Express Oil and Carousel Capital.