Auto Plus, a portfolio company of Icahn Enterprises L.P., has sold substantially all of its assets to a series of strategic acquirers
Auto Plus is a leading regional automotive aftermarket parts distributor offering premium branded products to an extensive network of commercial and retail customers. The company’s attractive geographic footprint included more than 300 retail locations and more than 20 distribution warehouses to service a diverse set of primarily jobber and installer customers.
Icahn Enterprises L.P. (Nasdaq:IEP) acquired the U.S. automotive parts distribution business of Uni-Select Inc. (TSX: UNS) to form Auto Plus in 2015 and was subsequently integrated with IEP Automotive Services (The Pep Boys and AAMCO) in 2016. Auto Plus was carved out as a standalone business in January 2022 and remained wholly owned by Icahn Enterprises L.P
Auto Plus filed for Chapter 11 pursuant to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of Texas due to various factors that negatively impacted the business including inventory management challenges, liquidity constraints and macroeconomic headwinds, among others.
Auto Plus engaged Lincoln International to launch an extensive marketing process to explore all potential strategic alternatives. Ultimately, Lincoln sold the business through a highly competitive two-day (33+ hour) auction with approximately 80 rounds of bidding (via 363 asset sale).
Based on early market feedback, Lincoln swiftly pivoted the process to allow for a sum-of-the-parts geographic-based bifurcation of the assets, with a keen focus on strategic buyers located in select geographies. Lincoln worked closely with the company’s management to re-define its footprint into ten distinct asset lots. These lots were carefully defined to drive competitive tension in the process and encourage broader participation in the auction for parties not interested in acquiring the full business. The competitive bidding process at the sales auction for the ten lots drove substantial value well above the starting baseline bids, creating the highest and best value for the estate. Lincoln worked closely with Auto Plus and its restructuring advisor Portage Point Partners, and the company’s legal counsel Jackson Walker LLP, to market all potential strategic alternatives of the business, identify interested parties to participate in the sales process and ultimately select winning bidders. Auto Plus was successfully sold through a Section 363 asset sale to a series of strategic buyers.
Brendan J. Murphy, Managing Director in Lincoln’s Capital Advisory Group, commented, “We are pleased to advise Auto Plus through this challenging and complicated situation. The auction process yielded the highest and best value for the estate and the winning bidders were able to add / expand in key geographic footprints to drive future growth for their respective organizations. It was a pleasure to work collaboratively with Portage Point Partners and Jackson Walker LLP to navigate a highly complex sale process and drive a positive result for all stakeholders.”
The marketing efforts led by Lincoln drove a positive outcome, retaining 3,000+ jobs for Auto Plus employees and transitioning long-time customers to key strategics. Lincoln's ability to pivot the marketing process to a sum-of-the-parts execution led to broader participation in the auction and drove materially higher value to the Estate.
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