Les Schwab Tire Centers Inc. is for sale. The Bend, Ore.-based company’s board of directors and its shareholders, who are all relatives of founder Les Schwab, have hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to find a buyer.
The sales process is expected to take several months. A local media outlet, The Oregonian, is reporting the company expects a selling price of at least $3 billion.
The decision to sell was made from a position of strength and based on the realities of being a family-owned business with five generations of family members, according to a statement issued by the family shareholders.
“Given the complexities of a fifth-generation family business, and managing a company of our size, we are at an important point in the life of Les Schwab Tire Centers. As our family grow and ages, it is increasingly critical to us that ownership remain committed and aligned behind our grandfather’s vision.”
The family shareholders believe new ownership offers the best option for the company’s long-term viability. They said in their statement, “After careful review and a lot of consideration, we concluded a new ownership group will help ensure future opportunity for our wonderful employees and secure continued success for the company as it grows. We believe a new owner – one with deep experience and resources – will carry forward the Les Schwab vision far into the future.
“Our incredible tire centers, and the company and communities we have built together, make us proud. As hard as it is to make the decision to sell this company, we are confident it will offer tremendous opportunity to build on all we have accomplished together for our customers, communities and our employees. We are excited to see what the future will bring.”
CEO Jack Cuniff said new ownership will position the company for additional growth and success.
"This company is strong,” he said. “We believe this is the best way to honor Les’ vision for the company and stores and support growth and innovation. Our owners are responsible stewards, and this decision was made after much consideration. It was not made lightly.”
Les Schwab Tire Centers is the fifth largest independent tire dealership in the U.S. on the 2019 Modern Tire Dealer 100 list. The company holds the fourth spot on MTD’s ranking of independent commercial tire dealers in the U.S. and is No. 11 on MTD’s list of the nation’s largest retreaders.
Les Schwab has more than 7,000 employees and more than 492 locations, including its network of member dealers, throughout Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and Wyoming. Les Schwab also operates three plants for producing medium truck tire retreads.
The company reported $1.8 billion in retail sales as of Sept. 2019. Les Schwab sells the following tire brands: Continental, Dean, Federal, Hankook, Cooper, Bridgestone, Mastercraft, Toyo and Pirelli.
The dealership has received numerous awards for its business practices over the years, with the two latest coming in the latter half of 2019. In August, Consumer Reports (CR) magazine ranked Les Schwab No. 1 among 29 regional and national tire retailers ranging from big-box stores to web-based businesses. More than 30,000 CR members responded to the survey. In October, Les Schwab earned the highest customer satisfaction score in a new survey of the automotive aftermarket by J.D. Power and Associates. The rankings are based on the responses of 12,554 vehicle owners conducted in August and September 2019 for the first U.S. Aftermarket Service Index Study conducted by J.D. Power and SurveyMonkey. Les Schwab had the top score in the tire retailer customer satisfaction index ranking.
Modern Tire Dealer profiled company founder Les Schwab in 2000, when he was named Tire Dealer of the Year. Schwab founded his dealership in 1952 in Prineville, Ore. He died at 89 in 2007.