Equity Firm Acquires Heartland

Private equity firm Wynnchurch Capital acquired do-it-for-me oil change giant Heartland Automotive Services Inc. for $1.3 billion, the companies announced last week. The Chicago-based firm partnered with Jiffy Lube franchise Mid-Atlantic Lubes Inc. for the acquisition, but declined to comment on details of the partnership.

Heartland, headquarted in Irving, Texas, is the largest operator of Jiffy Lube service centers with over 520 locations across 26 states. The Irving, Texas-based company was formerly owned by Sun Capital Partners Inc., which acquired it in August of 2012.

In January 2008, Heartland filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization amid declining financial performance caused in part by increasing gasoline and oil costs, and to resolve long-standing disputes with Jiffy Lube International. The company emerged from bankruptcy roughly a year later.

We are excited to invest in Heartland and to build on the companys leadership position in the quick-lube retail service market, said Erin Murphy, managing director at Wynnchurch, in the press release.

Wynnchurchs strategy is to partner with middle market companies in the United States and Canada that possess the potential for substantial growth and profit improvements, the press release stated. The company declined to provide further comment on the acquisition.

Heartland was created in 1995 when five independent Jiffy Lube franchisees in St. Louis, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Austin and Omaha joined forces. Initially the company had 66 stores in total.