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ATD's Johnson: Expect more expansion

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"I want to do some more acquisitions as early as this year."

American Tire Distributors (ATD) Chairman and CEO Dick Johnson and ATD's new owner, Investcorp, seem to be on the same page when it comes to future growth.

Although details of Investcorp's purchase of ATD from Charlesbank Capital Partners LLC have yet to be finalized, Johnson says the makeup of current management will not be affected. Neither will the services ATD offers to its customers; if anything, they will be enhanced.

The new ownership gives Johnson the money he needs to implement his aggressive growth plan. “I certainly would like to someday open in Canada and Mexico. Someday I’d like to take the company public, or know I could.”

Investcorp is paying $710 million for ATD in cash. According to Managing Director Steve Puccinelli, Investcorp holds onto properties for four-and-a-half years on average, then "realizes the investment" by either selling or offering an IPO.

The acquisition strategy will be driven from ATD headquarters in Huntersville, N.C., not by Investcorp, says Johnson, whose overriding goal is to strengthen the company to the point where its future -- and that of its 2,000-plus employees -- is secured. "I love this company."

Both parties estimate details of the purchase will be finalized in late March.

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