NCR Steve Leal

Driven Brands acquires Fix Auto USA and Auto Center Auto Body

Driven Brands officially announced its acquisition of Fix Auto USA (FUSAA) and Auto Center Auto Body, Inc. (ACAB). The addition adds nearly 150 franchised and ten company-owned collision repair locations to the Paint, Collision & Glass segment of Driven Brands.
NCR Driven Brands

The acquisition of FUSA and ACAB continues Driven Brands’ growth in the collision repair space. All locations will retain their current Fix branding and join Driven Brands’ Paint, Collision & Glass segment that includes the CARSTAR, Maaco, ABRA and Uniban brands. Driven Brands will continue to grow in the collision space leveraging its franchisees, insurance carrier relationships, proven leadership, and recognised operational platforms.

“We are thrilled to add the Fix team to Driven Brands despite the current business climate. Our word and reputation for being good partners are incredibly important to us,” said Jonathan Fitzpatrick, CEO of Driven Brands. “We have never been more optimistic about the long-term prospects for Fix Auto USA, all of our businesses in the paint, collision and glass segment, and the Driven Brands portfolio overall.”

Michael Macaluso, Group President of Paint, Collision & Glass, will oversee FUSA and ACAB. Paul Gange, president and CEO of Fix Auto USA will join the Driven Brands team and remain as president, managing the franchise business. Erick and Shelly Bickett will also join Driven as operating partners for the company-owned ACAB locations.

“After years of growing Fix Auto USA, we are thrilled to be part of Driven Brands, who completed the acquisition despite the tumultuous business climate,” said Gange. “We are excited to continue building our organisation with the strength and support of Driven Brands behind us.”

Since affiliates of Roark Capital acquired Driven Brands in 2015, it has executed 38 acquisitions, including the Fix Auto USA and Auto Center Auto Body, Inc. acquisition.  Driven Brands footprint includes over 3,250 locations across North America.

David Roberts, Managing Director of FOCUS Advisors, who led the transaction for FUSA and ACAB commented on the impact of this industry realignment and what it foretells: “Together with CARSTAR and their recent ABRA franchise acquisition, Driven Brands is now positioned as the primary home for operators that want to remain independent in a time of accelerating consolidation.  Additionally, the acquisition of ACAB positions Driven to begin building its own consolidation platform.”

Mondofix vows legal action over use of Fix Auto brand

Following reports of the transaction began to surface, Mondofix Inc., the owner of the Fix Auto Trademark globally issued a press release saying it was “disappointed and alarmed” at the news of the acquisition and that Driven Brands intends to continue to use the Fix Auto brand in the USA. In the release, Steve Leal, President and CEO of the Fix Network was quoted saying, “We were not aware of this transaction nor did we consent to any transaction between Driven Brands and FUSA, as is required under the license agreement with FUSA’s parent company. As such, we will pursue all legal avenues open to USA to protect our lawful position as the owner of the Fix Auto trademark and design in the United States.”

The relationship between Fix Auto USA and Mondofix Inc. has been the subject of litigation for the last few years. In June 2017, Fix Auto USA launched a legal action to retain its right to use the Fix Auto brand in the USA after Mondofix Inc. issued a press release stating it planned to regain the rights to use the trademark in the USA and enter the USA market directly before the end of 2017.

That litigation is believed to have been resolved over the last several months broadly in favour of Fix Auto USA’s position on its rights. The Fix Auto global franchise network of collision repair centers includes over 750 facilities, including those operating under the Fix Auto brand in the USA that were part of the Driven Brands acquisition.

This article courtesy of Russell Thrall III, publisher CollisionWeek. Check out their website at: www.collisionweek.com.

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