Caliber Collision and Abra Auto Body Repair of America today announced a definitive merger agreement that brings together the companies’ teams, brands and operations to better serve their customers and insurance clients with the “highest-quality repairs and a seamless customer experience,” Caliber states. Post-integration, the combined company will operate under the Caliber brand. The transaction is expected to close in early 2019. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
The merger brings together two complementary leaders in the $47-billion-a-year collision repair industry and puts the combined company in a better position to make investments that benefit customers and teammates, which include enhanced technologies, high-level customer experience and expanded best operational practices.
“This combination will allow us to offer even greater satisfaction for our valued customers and insurance clients while creating new opportunities for the talented teammates of both companies,” said Steve Grimshaw, CEO of Caliber. “With more than 1,000 stores in 37 states and the District of Columbia, we look forward to providing customers and insurance clients with the flexibility and convenience that come with the broadest geographic coverage in the United States and a full suite of services. We’re confident the technological and operational investments will create unparalleled customer service, enhanced repair quality and industry-leading metrics, all of which advance our purpose of restoring the rhythm of our customers’ lives.”
The combined company will offer customers and clients a single solution with more offerings, including dedicated Non-Drive, Express and Aluminum-certified and high-line repair centers. Caliber states that customers will also benefit from increased choice, as substantial opportunities exist to expand the companies’ offerings such as glass, mechanical, diagnostic scanning and calibration services, and the broadest network of OEM-certified locations in the U.S.
“We plan to maintain all existing centers from both companies as we develop and execute a plan to work smarter, generate growth, offer expanded services, drive operational excellence and reward talent across the organization,” said Grimshaw. “Recognizing the critical importance of top talent to our success, we will be retaining all teammates in the field at both Caliber and Abra centers, and we look forward to creating a culture that supports our teammates as they expand their careers across a larger organization, accelerated by industry-leading development programs.”
Added Abra CEO Ann Fandozzi, “Our industry becomes more complex every year. The combined company will invest in the equipment, training and technologies that will allow our teammates to build their careers while continuing to meet and exceed our customers’ needs for years to come. Abra’s leadership team is excited by the opportunities this combination with Caliber creates for customers, insurance clients and teammates. We look forward to seeing our traditions of stellar customer service, unparalleled operational excellence and team development taken to the next level across the United States.”
Both companies remain committed to serving insurance clients through the companies’ partnership programs, while maintaining and expanding strategic relationships with a single point of contact. The company states that it is also committed to continuing to serve Abra’s 59 franchisees with an even greater level of attention.
As part of this transaction, private equity firm Hellman & Freidman LLC – Abra’s majority shareholder since 2014 – will become the majority shareholder of the combined company. Both OMERS and Leonard Green & Partners, L.P. (LGP) will remain significant minority shareholders in the combined company. OMERS currently owns a majority stake in Caliber, and LGP owns a minority stake.
“Through this merger, we are creating a player in collision repair with proven acquisition integration capabilities, strong relationships with top-tier insurance clients, industry-leading performance metrics and a promising platform for future growth,” said Erik Ragatz, partner at Hellman & Friedman. “The combined company and its team of the best-trained, most satisfied talent in the industry will provide a total market solution in every place where it does business. Those teammates will also benefit from enhanced career opportunities with the combined organization.”
“We look forward to supporting the team as it works to achieve accelerated growth by unlocking new opportunities for customers, insurance clients and teammates in the communities these two great organizations serve,” said Tim Patterson, managing director at OMERS Private Equity.
“Steve and the team at Caliber have done an outstanding job building a leading collision repair provider,” said Jonathan Seiffer, senior partner at Leonard Green & Partners. “This merger with Abra will bring together the industry’s two most innovative and customer-focused companies, and we are excited to watch as the combined organization continues to thrive.”
Jefferies LLC is financial advisor to both OMERS and LGP. Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP provided legal counsel to OMERS. Latham & Watkins LLP provided legal counsel to LGP. BofA Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. are financial advisors to Hellman & Friedman. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP provided legal counsel to Hellman & Friedman.