Bridgestone’s purchase of the struggling Pep Boys auto store chain almost certainly means job growth for Nashville, where Bridgestone Americas is based. The $835 million deal would likely result in the relocation of the Pep Boys headquarters, which is in Philadelphia.
Bridgestone has not made its plans public, but analysts believe there’s very little chance the tire-maker would keep hundreds of administrative staffers working in Pennsylvania. And Bridgestone is already building a new, larger headquarters in downtown Nashville.
“There’s not a lot of synergy in running a separate corporate headquarters for a corporate subsidiary,” says Jefferies analyst Bret Jordan, who follows the tire and auto maintenance market.
The bigger question is whether Bridgestone, which already operates 2,200 maintenance shops, really intends to get into the parts business. Pep Boys does both.
“Historically, Bridgestone did not have that walk into a store, buy a battery and do-it-yourself function," Jordan says. "So what they decide to do with that side of the store, I don’t know. That's the million-dollar question.”
Jordan says it’s entirely possible that part of Pep Boys could be handed over to another competitor, like AutoZone or O’Reilly’s.
The Pep Boys acquisition is not a done deal. The chain’s shareholders have to vote for it first. Assuming they do, the deal is expected to close early next year.