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Blackstone announces plans to acquire panel business

Blackstone announces plans to acquire panel business

Acquisition

Blackstone will acquire the issued share capital in AMA, after entering an agreement to do so by way of a members scheme of arrangement.

Firms: Ashurst (Blackstone); Gilbert +Tobin and Nicholson Ryan Lawyers (AMA Group Limited); MinterEllison (Financiers)

Deal: Blackstone has acquired AMA Group Limited (AMA).

Value: $630 million (acquisition and demerger)

Area: Corporate, M&A

Key players: Ashurst advised Blackstone on the acquisition deal. The legal team was led by partners Mark Stanbridge and Stuart Dullard.

G+T’s Costas Condoleon led the team advising AMA in the transactions.

Deal significance:

The AMA Business includes the Automotive Component, Accessory and Procurement Business (the ACAD Business) and a vehicle panel repair business (Panel Business).

AMA Group is company operating in the vehicle aftercare and accessories market, and presently has over 100 workshops and operations in both Australia and New Zealand.

Blackstone meanwhile is a leading private equity firm, with over US$58 billion of equity capital invested or committed since its inception.

Blackstone has agreed to acquire AMA issued share capital by way of a members scheme of arrangement. Before the deal proceeds, AMA will demerge ACAD Business into a new company to be listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.

According to G+T, the two separate transactions were milestones for AMA Group, and marked the company’s growth in the last eight years.

A statement from Ashurst said that the implementation of the Acquisition Scheme was subject to the Demerger being implemented and a number of customary conditions. This included the approval from AMA Group shareholders and the court, no material adverse change or prescribed occurrence taking place, obtaining certain material third party consents as well as the approval of Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board, the firm said.

Commenting on the deal, the managing director of Blackstone, Jonathan Chamberlain, said the company was pleased to be partnering with Andrew Hopkins and the Gemini management team to continue the growth of the Panel Business.

“As the owners of one of the leading vehicle panel repair businesses in the United States, Service King, Blackstone truly understands the collision repairs industry and the opportunities and challenges ahead for the business,” Mr Chamberlain said.

Andrew Hopkins, AMA Group Vehicle Panel Repair CEO, will continue as CEO of the Panel Business following its acquisition by Blackstone. He said that he was impressed with Blackstone’s level of understanding of the business during the transaction diligence period.

“Over the past two years, we have rapidly grown our vehicle panel repair operations to over 100 sites and in the process fundamentally changed the way the industry engages with its primary customers, the automotive insurance companies, to the ultimate benefit of their customers, the insurance policyholders,” Mr Hopkins said.

“Taking the business private will increase our senior management team’s focus and allow us to further improve our cost competitiveness; in the process, strengthening our insurer customer relationships.”

G+T lead partner Costas Condoleon said that the transactions would reshape AMA group’s business “in a strategically fundamental way”.

“The proposed demerger will allow the $200 million automotive accessories business to pursue its global ambitions in a rapidly consolidating industry unconstrained by the demands of the panel repairs business from which it will demerge,” Mr Condoleon said.

“And Blackstone’s $508 million take private proposal for the post demerger business will give AMA Group shareholders an opportunity to realise value for their investment with an opportunity for ongoing exposure to the business under Blackstone control.”

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