Gridiron Sells Dent Wizard, Invests in Dealer Tire

Gridiron Capital has closed the sale of Dent Wizard, a provider of automotive reconditioning services and vehicle protection products, to Dealer Tire, a portfolio company of Bain Capital.

As part of this transaction, Gridiron is making a new investment in the combined platform alongside Bain Capital who remains as the majority shareholder.

Dealer Tire manages replacement tire and parts programs for more than 8,000 automotive dealerships representing more than 20 automotive OEMs in the U.S. and China – including Toyota, Lexus, Mercedes Benz, BMW, Audi and Chrysler. The company also provides sales training, inventory management services, marketing materials, road hazard coverage, and warranty assistance. Dealer Tire has nearly 40 distribution centers across the US and is headquartered in Cleveland.

Dealer Tire, led by CEO Scott Mueller and President Dean Mueller, was founded in 1999 by the owners of the former Mueller Tire & Brake, a Cleveland-based retail chain founded in 1918. Bain Capital acquired Dealer Tire in October 2018 from Lindsay Goldberg.

Dent Wizard removes dents, dings, creases and hail damage from vehicles without affecting the original factory finish. Other services include the reconditioning of bumpers and wheels; the repair of interior surfaces, carpet and fabric; and the sale of related financial and insurance products.

Dent Wizard has more than 2,300 service technicians and more than 7,000 customers including car dealerships (more than 5,000), automobile manufacturers, auto auctions, body shops and collision centers, rental car agencies, insurance companies, fleet owners and operators, and individual vehicle owners. The company, led by CEO Mike Black, was founded in 1983 and is headquartered in the St. Louis suburb of Bridgeton.

Gridiron acquired Dent Wizard in April 2015 from H.I.G. Capital. During its ownership term, Gridiron completed fifteen add-on acquisitions which expanded its suite of services and allowed it to enter new service channels.

“Under Gridiron’s partnership, we have grown all aspects of our business, built upon our strong company culture and have very positive momentum that will continue to drive the business forward,” said Mr. Black. “We have benefited from Gridiron’s financial and strategic direction during our partnership and are pleased that they will continue to be our partners going forward as part of Dealer Tire.”

“Dent Wizard’s comprehensive suite of solutions, national technician coverage, and compelling customer value proposition have resulted in strong growth and will drive significant cross-selling opportunities as part of the combined company with Dealer Tire,” said Tom Burger, Gridiron’s co-founder and managing partner.

Gridiron invests in manufacturing, service and specialty consumer companies that have EBITDAs from $8 million to $50 million. Sectors of interest include branded consumer, B2B and B2C services, and niche industrial. The firm was an active investor in 2019 and closed three new platforms with the buys of Colibri Group, a St. Louis-based provider of online learning services for professionals operating in regulated end markets, from Quad-C (May 2019); Jacent, a Huntingdon Valley, PA-based distributor and merchandiser of non-edible, general merchandise impulse items sold through grocery stores and other retail channels, from Lariat Partners (April 2019); and Remington Products Company, a Wadsworth, OH-based maker of branded and private label orthotic products sold to specialty retailers, footcare OEMs, and orthopedic soft goods distributors, from Remington’s employee stock ownership plan (April 2019).

In October 2016, Gridiron held a final closing of the firm’s third fund, Gridiron Capital Fund III LP, at the hard cap of $850 million. The firm is headquartered in New Canaan, Connecticut.

The financial advisors to Dent Wizard on this transaction were Jefferies LLC and Robert W. Baird & Co.

© 2020 Private Equity Professional | February 12, 2020

Print Friendly, PDF & Email