Family-owned Burson Auto Parts sold to private equity for $148 million #capitol #one #auto

#burson auto parts

Family-owned Burson Auto Parts sold to private equity for $148 million

Garry Johnson, co-founder of the 40-year-old Burson Auto Parts, admits to mixed feelings about the sale of his automotive parts distribution and accessories repair company to private equity firm Quadrant for $148 million.

His reason for selling? “It was part age, and partly time for somebody young with more energy and IT savvy to run the business.”

“I have mixed emotions, but at the end of the day it was time for somebody else to continue another era for Burson.”

The 70-year-old will remain a minority shareholder of Burson Auto Parts, which has about 100 staff members from Darwin to Hobart. With revenue of around $300 million, it is second in its market to Repco and has 92 company-owned and branded trade distribution centres in Australia.

Johnson says he was a bit more of a part-time CEO and that “in the absence of family or business succession” he decided to sell.

“There wasn’t a family succession situation there, which I probably would have preferred.”

“I looked inside my business, and there was nobody there that I thought was appropriate or who wanted the job.”

“So I looked around for trade opportunities to sell to.”

Johnson is confident the incoming chief executive Darryl Abotomey, a former Repco employee, will do a good job.

“Sometimes with private equity, they appoint somebody who doesn’t have industry knowledge.That concerned me but I’m confident that won’t be the case,” Johnson says.

Chris Hadley, Quadrant managing director, said the Melbourne-based business had performed very well during the global financial crisis and operated in an industry which is “very resilient in the current challenging environment.”

Johnson’s plans for the future are “some travel, some family, limited business.”

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