The Icahn Enterprise L.P. Auto Plus assets, which had struggled for profitability in recent times, appear to be finding new homes as IEP finalizes its Chapter 11 for the auto parts distribution business.
IEH Auto Parts Holding LLC and its subsidiaries (collectively “Auto Plus”), is an aftermarket parts distributor held within the Automotive segment of IEP. On January 31, 2023, it was announced that Icahn Enterprises would be filing for Chapter 11 for the business–restricted to the Auto Plus business–while also seeking a sale of assets as that process moved forward.
In recent days, some of those sales have been announced.
4M Parts Warehouse in Texas said it is picking up 10 of the Auto Plus locations in the state, nearly doubling its overall store count.
4M Parts Warehouse has closed the deal on the acquisition of 10 locations from Auto Plus, which includes nine retail store locations and one distribution center. These new locations will be rebranded as Bumper to Bumper Parts Stores, and will fit the existing footprint of 4M Parts Warehouse, based out of Cleburne, TX. The acquisition closed on May 31st, 2023.
“We are excited to bring these new stores into the 4M fold,” said Lanny Martindale, President and CEO of 4M Parts Warehouse. “Most of these locations exist in areas our team already travels through and a few that make perfect sense as the ‘next steps’ in our service area. It came together nicely for our organization and these new locations will only enhance the service we are able to provide to our existing customers and our new ones.”
NPW picked up 20 Auto Plus locations in Florida, bring to 28 the number of stores NPW has there, where it has just recently opened a new distribution centre and headquarters in Hialeah. NPW will rebrand the stores under the Auto Value name.
And XL Parts/The Parts House has acquired assets in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and Indiana, includes three distribution centers–in Florida, Georgia and North Carolina–bringing to 220 outlets for the Marubeni Corporation which owns XL/TPH.
Icahn’s history with the business goes back to 2015 when it purchased the USA distribution business of Uni-Select for some $340 million as the Boucherville, Que. business looked to improve its balance sheet.
Of course unwinding such an enterprise is not simple and only two weeks ago shares of Icahn Enterprise L.P. generally regarded as a high yielding stock, were marked down by more than 50% after a report by short sellers ‘Hindenburg’ and by investor Bill Ackman claimed the company was overleveraged.
IEP denied those claims and called the reports “self-serving.”
It’s a long way from the promise that was shown just a year ago when the Auto Plus U.S. automotive aftermarket distribution business joined the Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance, Inc.
At that time Auto Plus had with 325 corporate stores, 21 distribution centres, and more than 4,000 team members, serves over 400 bannered Auto Plus Independent Store Owners, an additional 1,000 jobber stores and over 20,000 professional service dealers in the U.S.
“This is a significant milestone in the proud history of the Auto Plus organization and our customer family,” Joe Ferrer, President of Auto Plus said at the time.
And, it should be noted, there is at least one Securities Class Action lawsuit filed in relation to the IEH/Auto Plus business, so perhaps the story isn’t finished quite yet.