The sale of Les Schwab Tire Centers Inc., one of the country’s largest independent tire dealerships, has been “paused,” Dale Thompson, the company’s chief marketing officer, has told MTD.
Travel restrictions and other “COVID-19 concerns have made it not a good time to conduct the normal process” of a potential sale, according to Thompson. “We anticipate resuming the sales process later this year, conditions permitting.”
In December 2019, the dealership’s board of directors and shareholders, all relatives of founder Les Schwab, announced they had hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to find a buyer for the chain, which has 438 combined retail/commercial tire locations throughout 10 western states. At the time, a local media outlet, The Oregonian, reported that the company was expected to set a selling price of at least $3 billion.
When the announcement was made, family shareholders said, “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 also said at the time that 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 is the fifth largest independent tire dealership in the U.S., according to the 2019 MTD 100 list.