Blackstone to Acquire Majority Stake in Service King Collision Repair Centers from Carlyle

Two years after its acquisition of Service King Collision Repair Centers helped drive growth of the firm into one of the nation’s largest independent chains of automobile body repair centers, The Carlyle Group has sold its majority stake to Blackstone.
Peter Wallace, Blackstone

Peter Wallace, Blackstone

Two years after its acquisition of Service King Collision Repair Centers helped drive growth of the firm into one of the nation’s largest independent chains of automobile body repair centers, The Carlyle Group has sold its majority stake to Blackstone.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed but The Wall Street Journal reported it was valued at about $650 million. It is expected to close in the third quarter.

Carlyle, its co-investors and management and employees of Service King will retain a significant minority stake in the company. The Blackstone acquisition is described as a way to recapitalize the chain.

“We look forward to partnering with management, the company’s employee-owners, and Carlyle to support Service King’s continued growth and expansion,” Peter Wallace, Blackstone senior managing director, said in joint announcement with Carlyle.

“In a fragmented industry, Service King has grown tremendously and Carlyle is proud to have supported their achievements,” Shary Moalemzadeh, Carlyle managing director and co-head of Carlyle Strategic Partners, said in the release. “We will continue to support Service King’s business and growth strategy and we are pleased with the successes we have achieved together thus far during Carlyle’s investment period.”

Shary Moalemzadeh, The Carlyle Group

Shary Moalemzadeh, The Carlyle Group

Carlyle acquired its stake in August 2012 with equity from the $1.1 billion Carlyle U.S. Equity Opportunity Fund and the $700 million Carlyle Strategic Partners Fund III L.P. Service King, which had been established in 1976 by Eddie Lennox, had 47 repair shops in Texas. With Carlyle’s investment and a team lead by CEO Chris Abraham and President Jeff McFadden, who had both been longtime Service King employees, the chain began a national expansion growing to its current 177 centers across 20 states.

Last week, Service King acquired two locations in the North Texas towns of Wylie and Rowlett. In June, the firm closed on one of its biggest acquisitions, adding 62 locations with the purchase of Sterling Collision Centers. Service King started off 2014 by acquiring Collision Authority and its six repair centers in the Las Vegas- Henderson area in Nevada.

“Service King’s recent growth is an example of Carlyle’s long-term approach to value creation and we look forward to working with our new partners at Blackstone to continue executing on our strategy,” Abraham said in the release from Blackstone and Carlyle.

David Stonehill, Carlyle managing director and member of the Carlyle U.S. Equity Opportunity investment team, gave credit to the management and employee-owners for their part in the expansion over the past two years and said he looks forward to more growth. In addition to Texas, where it has its headquarters, the company also has locations in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia. It employs more than 3,800 technicians and support team members as of June.

“Service King’s commitment to its customers and focus on high quality service in collision repair initially attracted us to this investment, and we welcome Blackstone’s partnership in further strengthening the brand and business,” Stonehill said in the release.