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Canadian collision repair operator Boyd targeted by PE firms: report

The Boyd Group, a Winnipeg, Manitoba-based operator of non-franchised collision repair centres in North America, has been approached for takeover by private equity firms, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

Boyd is the only large auto-body repair chain that is currently not owned by PE investors, the report noted. Founded in 1990, the company has since 2002 been held by Boyd Group Income Fund, an open-ended mutual fund trust listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Brock Bulbuck, Boyd’s president and CEO, said that unnamed PE investors have expressed an interest in buying the company, the Wall Street Journal reported. Boyd instead has embarked on its own plan to increase its locations by 20 percent annually.

Auto-body repair shops have been a source of intense dealmaking of late, in part because of the fragmented nature of the industry, the report said. For example, U.S. private equity firm Blackstone Group agreed this week to acquire a majority stake in Service King Collision Repair Centers from The Carlyle Group.

Canadian PE firms also have been active in the sector. Last November, peHUB Canada reported that OMERS Private Equity bought Caliber Collision Centers for an undisclosed amount from ONCAP, which had invested in the company since 2008. For ONCAP, the mid-market platform of Onex Corp, the exit provided a multiple of capital invested of about 7.5x.

Major competitors of Boyd’s, Caliber and Service King are both based in Texas.

On its website, Boyd says it “gained the title of largest collision repair operator in Canada” in 1999. Thereafter, much of its steady acquisition activity has been concentrated in the U.S. market.

The company reports that after 20 years, it now operates in five Canadian provinces and 15 U.S. states, with more than 3,000 employees at more than 200 locations. It operates as Boyd Autobody & Glass in Canada, and as Gerber Collision & Glass south of the border.

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