Les Schwab Tires sells to California-based investment firm; no change in operations

Les Schwab Tires has sold to a California-based investment firm, ending a 70-year run as a Central Oregon, family-run business.

The Bend company confirmed the sale to the Meritage Group on Tuesday.

“The decision to sell has always been about securing the long-term success of the Company,” said Chief Executive Officer Jack Cuniff. “Meritage Group has a history of preserving culture and values while growing its companies with investment over time. This is a great fit, and aligns well with Les’ vision and all we have built together.”

Les Schwab’s operations and management team will remain unchanged, according to a statement from the company.

The Schwab family shareholders said this week in a joint statement:

“As our family grows and ages, it has been very important to us to remain committed and aligned behind our Grandfather’s vision. While it was hard to make the decision to sell the Company, we are very confident Meritage Group will continue that commitment and alignment, and will build on all we have accomplished over the past 68 years.”

The future is bright for Les Schwab with Meritage Group taking over ownership of the Company, the family said.

The company announced in December last year they were seeking a buyer, but the COVID pandemic stalled those efforts as potential buyers weren’t able to visit shops and meet with employees.

Meritage Group, a family-owned private investment firm founded by Nat Simons, invests in public and private companies across a variety of sectors.

It continues to own to this day Portland, Oregon-based national beverage distributor Columbia Distributing, which it acquired in 2012.

“We see Les Schwab Tires as an ideal investment,” said Aubrey Barth, Managing Director of Meritage. “The company’s exceptional employees and programs, strong financials, and respected, customer-focused brand set it up for success for years to come.” “It only took reading 50 pages of Les’ book to realize the Company was a great cultural fit for Meritage,” said Alex Magaro, Co-President and Senior Managing Director of Meritage.

Bloomberg reported the Bend-based company could be sold for at least $3 billion, but terms of the sale have not been released.

The sale is expected to be completed before the end of the year.

Les Schwab Tire Centers has about $1.8 billion in annual revenue, more than 7,000 employees in about 500 locations throughout Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and Wyoming.

▶️ Les Schwab Tires: An uncertain future, but a history forged by a Prineville icon

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