Icahn Seeks to Buy Pep Boys, Undercutting Bridgestone

(Chicago Tribune/TNS) -

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn has thrown a wrench in Japanese tire giant Bridgestone’s plan to buy Pep Boys’ auto parts and maintenance stores.

Icahn, 79, disclosed in a Securities and Exchange filing that he owns 12.1 percent of Pep Boys, which he said represents an “excellent” acquisition opportunity for Auto Plus, a Pep Boys competitor he owns.

Icahn has been in talks with Pep Boys’ management about its retail business and expressed a “good faith intention” to buy a controlling interest in Pep Boys, according to a second filing by Pep Boys on Monday.

Bridgestone announced in late October that its retail business would purchase Pep Boys for $15 a share, or $835 million, a 23 percent premium over the stock’s close on the last trading day before the tentative deal was announced.

Pep Boys said in a news release Monday that Icahn had been in discussions with Pep Boys management for six months but had not yet made an offer of more than $13.50 per share for Pep Boys.

Bridgestone said in a statement Monday that it had made “swift and certain progress” toward finalizing the acquisition and that it expects to close the deal in early 2016.

Bridgestone, which runs 2,200 tire and service centers nationwide under the Firestone Complete Auto Care, Tires Plus, Hibdon Tires Plus and Wheel Works brands, wants to close the deal so that it can expand the number of locations that sell its tires.

Pep Boys has 800 locations nationwide. Icahn’s Auto Plus has 270 locations.