Leeds West Groups buys Auto Systems Experts

Dec. 12, 2017
Leeds West Groups (LWG) have entered into an agreement to acquire Auto Systems Experts (ASE), an employee-owned company based out of Davenport, Iowa that operates 42 Midas locations in six states in the Midwest with a full complement of Midas’ automotive services.
Leeds West Groups (LWG) have entered into an agreement to acquire Auto Systems Experts (ASE), an employee-owned company based out of Davenport, Iowa that operates 42 Midas locations in six states in the Midwest with a full complement of Midas’ automotive services.
The planned acquisition includes all of ASE locations, real estate holdings, buildings, and equipment, making it the largest single acquisition by a Midas franchisee in Midas history. Alan S. Mahrt, the former president of ASE will serve as Chief Operating Officer of the new division of Leeds West Groups. Leeds West Groups is a capital group that acquires, owns, and manages Midas, Big O Tires, and SpeeDee Oil Change & Auto Service, locations in nine states, that currently, before the ASE acquisition, touches over 20% of the US in markets with 55 franchise locations spread across Colorado, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Connecticut.  The new ASE acquisition boosts LWG’s holdings to 97 locations, across 15 states and 850 employees making it collectively, the largest Midas, Big O Tires, and SpeeDee Oil Change & Auto Service automotive group in the nation. The transaction has been approved by each ASE and LWG respective Board of Directors and is subject to customary closing requirements and regulatory approvals. Financial terms of the transaction were not publicly disclosed. In conjunction with the acquisition, Leeds West Groups has named current Board of Directors Member Joshua A. Weinreich as Chairman of the Board of LWG. Mr. Weinreich previously served as the Global Head of Hedge Funds for Deutsche Bank and as Chief Executive Officer of Deutsche Asset Management. Mr. Weinreich holds Board seats at AllianceBernstien, Citigroup Alternative Investments, Skybridge Capital, and many charitable organizations including Community FoodBank of New Jersey, Newark Academy, Overlook Hospital, and Cornell University Endowment Hedge Fund Subcommittee. Additionally, Mr. David H. Byron Smith, Jr. JD, has been appointed to the Board of Directors of Leeds West Groups. Mr. Smith currently serves as Executive Vice President for Policy & Legal Affairs and General Counsel at the Mutual Fund Directors Forum in Washington DC. Mr. Smith also holds a seat on the Board of Directors of Northern Trust Bank since April 20, 2010 and Illinois Tool Works (ITW) since December 4, 2009. ITW owns companies such as Deltar, RainX, Wynn's, Densit, Miller Welding, Hobart, Ramset and Zip Pak to name just a few. “This acquisition represents a powerful opportunity for LWG to significantly expand our presence in the United States in the franchise aftermarket automotive repair industry,” said Judd Kyle Shader, CEO, Founder, and Board of Directors member of Leeds West Groups. “As one of the premier automotive management companies, Leeds West Groups has clearly demonstrated its ability to apply its considerable resources and expertise to enter and lead in the franchise aftermarket automotive repair marketplace for many years to come.” Founded in 1957, Auto Systems Experts, Inc. (ASE) is one of the oldest Midas franchisees in the country providing comprehensive diagnostics and repair of all major automotive systems.  Prior to the acquisition, ASE was 100% employee-owned under an employee stock option plan.  “We have worked closely with LWG in a strategic partnership over the last two years to make this acquisition a natural fit that will grow ASE for many years to come in resources and new locations, making this a seamless benefit for all,” said Alan S. Mahrt, former president of Auto Systems Experts. “The ASE and Leeds West Groups represent two of the finest dealer teams within the Midas system and we are extremely excited to work with both Judd and Alan as they continue to expand into new areas and grow market share,” said Ron Seagle, VP & GM, Midas.    In 2013, Leeds West Groups acquired 30 Midas corporate stores in nine states in an arrangement to convert Midas corporate shops into franchised locations.  At the time of the transaction, it was the largest single Midas store purchase by a franchisee in the company’s history.
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