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Cortec buys EAH

Cortec Group has acquired Ohio-based Enthusiast Auto Holdings, a platform that invests in the performance automotive industry.

Cortec Group has acquired Ohio-based Enthusiast Auto Holdings, a platform that invests in the performance automotive industry. No financial terms were disclosed.

PRESS RELEASE

(New York, NY) – Cortec Group (“Cortec”), a New York-based private equity firm that focuses on investing in and growing middle market specialty consumer, business-to-business, distribution and healthcare products and services businesses, announced that on December 19, 2019, a group led by its affiliate, Cortec Group Fund VII, L.P. (“Cortec Fund VII”), in partnership with management, acquired Enthusiast Auto Holdings, LLC (“EAH” or the “Company”). Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

EAH is a direct-to-enthusiast, digitally native platform that invests in and helps operate several of the most innovative brands in the performance automotive industry. Built by enthusiasts for enthusiasts, EAH has grown from a family-owned Volkswagen repair shop into one of largest specialty eCommerce companies in the automotive aftermarket industry. Headquartered in Wadsworth, Ohio, EAH designs, produces and sells proprietary parts and kits for a rapidly growing number of automotive makes and models, and partners with hundreds of other performance brands to bring the enthusiast community an unparalleled customer experience. Over one million enthusiasts follow EAH’s banners on social media.

With its expansive and informative website content, breadth of specialty products and strong customer service, EAH has delivered an outstanding track record of both organic and acquisition-driven growth. Imran Jooma, Chief Executive Officer of EAH, commented,

“Cortec is an ideal partner for EAH, given its track record of successfully growing eCommerce and consumer businesses serving enthusiast customers. During the transaction process, the Cortec team demonstrated its clear understanding of our go-to-market strategy and customers, embraced our culture and brought relevant experience to the table.” Mr. Jooma concluded, “Our entire team is excited about the shared values, knowledge and resources that Cortec brings to our company.”

David Schnadig, Co-President of Cortec stated, “We feel fortunate to be able to work with EAH’s management team and employees to continue building leading eCommerce destinations for automotive enthusiasts. Imran and his team have demonstrated that putting the customer first while innovating with unique products, often to create specific customer solutions, is a winning formula.” Jonathan Stein, a Managing Partner at Cortec, added, “In addition to fostering organic growth, Cortec looks forward to supporting EAH’s management as they continue to make acquisitions of specialty automotive aftermarket, eCommerce-focused businesses.”

The EAH acquisition represents the first platform investment in Cortec Fund VII, a $2.1 billion fund which closed in November 2019. Jones Day served as legal advisor to Cortec Fund VII. Senior debt to support the acquisition was provided by Antares Capital, NXT Capital and First Eagle Investment Management. BB&T Capital Markets served as financial advisor and Perkins Coie LLP served as legal advisor to EAH.

About EAH
EAH is a leading online provider of specialty automotive aftermarket parts, offering more than two million active SKUs of performance and repair and maintenance parts, both direct-to-consumer and to professional installers. Founded in 2001, EAH is headquartered in Wadsworth, OH.

About Cortec
Founded in 1984, Cortec invests in market-leading, middle-market specialty consumer, business-to-business, distribution and healthcare products and services businesses in partnership with owners and management teams who want to work with the Cortec team to drive growth and improve business fundamentals.