- Bill Berry headed up American Tire Distributors
- Exec prefers smaller GP over a larger firm
- Plans to focus on specialty distribution
Before Bill Berry retired in December as CEO of American Tire Distributors Inc, a joint holding of TPG and Ares Management LP, he’d built up decades of experience with private equity firms.
So after he was approached by a new GP, Soundcore Capital Partners, he decided to sign on as an operating partner, partly because he wanted to work with a younger firm.
“I like getting in on the ground floor — starting small and making it larger,” Berry said in a phone interview. “I’ve done that my whole career.”
Berry already had a long resume when in 1984 he signed on as controller at a predecessor of American Tire Distributors. He became CEO in 2009 and grew the wholesale tire distributor to $5 billion in sales by the end of 2015.
Prior to his years at American Tire Distributors, Berry was vice president of finance at a bottling and distribution division of Dr Pepper, now Dr Pepper Snapple Group.
Berry says he brings to Soundcore’s portfolio companies lessons learned in both the tire and soft-drink businesses. He plans to work with Alloy Wheel Repair Specialists, which Soundcore bought in November as its first platform deal.
Being a good distributor is all about building a cooperative, synergistic customer-supplier relationship, Berry said.
“They’re a knowledgeable source of information and service to the customer who is relying on them daily so they can manage their own business,” Berry said. “In value-add distribution, we do marketing and provide systems they didn’t have themselves.”
Berry said Bill Lasky, a Soundcore operating partner focused on automotive deals, initially reached out to him about the firm via an investment banker they both knew.
Ex-Sun Capital executive Jarrett Turner founded Soundcore Capital in 2015. It’s mulling plans to raise a debut fund of $250 million to $400 million, Buyouts reported.
Meanwhile, it’s been raising special-purpose funds for buyouts of Alloy Wheel Repair and for other deals in the works.
Action Item: Bill Berry’s bio, http://bit.ly/1V6BwCS
Photo of Bill Berry courtesy of Soundcore