SEMA eNews Vol. 11, No. 20, May 15, 2008

PRIVATE EQUITY GROUP MERGES AMERICAN RACING AND WHEEL PROS

Platinum Equity, a Beverly Hills, California-based private equity group, announced the integration of American Racing and Wheel Pros, two distributors of high-performance wheels and tires to the automotive aftermarket.

According to a company statement released May 9, the combined company will offer a comprehensive portfolio of wheel products, including the full lineup of existing American Racing and Wheel Pros products.

“This is an incredibly powerful combination that unites two of the best names in the business,” said Rob Joubran, partner at Platinum Equity. “The pedigree of these two companies is unparalleled. Bringing them together under one roof will provide customers one-stop access to the best brands in the industry.”

Randy White, a former American Racing executive who co-founded Wheel Pros in 1994, has been named chief executive officer of the new company. Jody Groce, also a co-founder of Wheel Pros, has been named president.

“This merger brings together two leading companies that deliver world-class products and services,” White said. “Together, we have more than two dozen brands and programs serving 25,000 customers in over 30 countries on six continents.”

“Our customers will now have access to a single provider with an exceptional inventory of in-demand wheel products, a larger and more capable distribution network, and a diversity of product choices that represent the best-known wheel brands in the industry,” he said.

The integrated distribution company will operate under the Wheel Pros name in the United States, and as American Racing overseas. It will continue to distribute product brands currently offered by the two companies.

Platinum Equity acquired American Racing, the largest manufacturer and distributor of high-performance aftermarket automotive wheels in North America in July 2005. The firm acquired Wheel Pros, a leading competitor in the space, in March 2008.

Source: Platinum Equity press release via www.platinumequity.com/site/action/news.

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