TBC is a big wheel in tire distribution and the Big O in tire retailing. A unit of Sumitomo Corporation of America (SCOA), it's one of the largest private-brand tire marketers in North America. Its TBC Private Brands and Treadways units distribute about 10 proprietary brands (including Multi-Mile, Cordovan, and Sigma) to wholesalers and retailers in the US, Canada, and Mexico. TBC also sells tires and offers automotive services through 500-plus Big O Tires stores in 20 US states and Canada. TBC also operates more than 730 retail locations under the Tire Kingdom, Merchant's Tire and Auto Centers, and National Tire & Battery banners. It added a hefty 2,250 Midas shops to its retail network in 2012.
Looking to pump up its business with a broader selection of automotive services, TBC acquired some 69% of Midas, the operator of its namesake and SpeeDee automotive service centers, for about $173 million ($11.50 per share), plus $137 million in assumed debt. Folding Midas into its operations significantly boosts TBC's portfolio of franchised, licensed, and company-owned shops that span more than a dozen countries.
TBC is expanding its network of distribution centers as its rivals retrench. Commercial real estate has become more affordable in the slow economy, and the company has been snapping up deals as they roll around. Prior to the large Midas acquisition, TBC extended its reach into the Midwest by purchasing about 20 Tires Plus locations in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin from Bridgestone Retail Operations; the company has since converted the shops to the National Tire & Battery format. TBC also added the California-based operations of Pioneer Tire Supply to its network and through another agreement took over two Missouri facilities from MFA Oil.
The company has had to grow its operations with its newly expanded capacity. To serve customers in the southeastern US, TBC built a 1 million-sq.-ft. distribution center in South Carolina that opened in 2011. – less