04

Highline
Aftermarket

Highline <br> Aftermarket image
Business

Highline Aftermarket is a manufacturer and distributor of packaged automotive chemicals, lubricants, and parts, which it sells to independent distributors, quick lube shops, jobbers, wholesalers, and multiple retail channels. Highline Aftermarket was formed through the simultaneous acquisitions of two legacy businesses, DYK Automotive and Auto Aftermarket Holdings Corporation.

Situation overview

Sterling shared the vision of creating a national leader that would be best in class, both commercially and operationally. Sterling was prepared to do the complicated transactional work of concurrently acquiring and immediately merging the two companies.

Quote

Our family office, which had owned DYK since 2008, had long wanted to acquire DYK’s direct competitor, AAHC, but we needed a strong financial and operational partner to join us given the complexities of the transaction and post-merger integration.

Sterling’s carve-out experience and strong execution capabilities stood out to us. Sterling was the right partner for us because we believed they had the expertise to work through both the transactional and operational challenges of simultaneously acquiring DYK and AAHC and then successfully operating the combined businesses which for so long had been fierce competitors.

We are very pleased with our decision to partner with Sterling. We at Dobbs have been treated as a true partner all along the way. Not only has Sterling successfully led the integration of the companies while organically growing the business but also has led the subsequent acquisition of the leading targeted strategic platform company.

Chris Crosby, Memphis, Tennessee,
Dobbs Management, former owners of DYK Automotive

DYK and AAHC were long-time market participants in auto aftermarket distribution. For years, the owners of each debated who should buy whom. When discussions about a transaction began again in 2015, Dobbs, the owners of DYK sought a partner. Sterling shared the vision of creating a national leader that would be best in class, both commercially and operationally. Sterling was prepared to do the complicated transactional work of concurrently acquiring and immediately merging the two companies.

The new entity, Highline, offers a national footprint to the vendor community with 8 regional distribution centers and access to thousands of customers. The company is a multiple-channel market participant (traditional jobbers, direct-to-installer, auto retail, non-auto / specialty retail, and e-commerce). To the customer, Highline aggregates thousands of SKUs and simplifies the supply chain. To vendors, Highline offers an effective route to thousands of smaller, hard to service accounts.

A year after the initial combination, Highline acquired Service Champ, a leader in serving the installer in the DIFM segment, providing product to thousands of convenient oil change centers.  Subsequently, South/Win became a part of the Highline family, bringing a network of five plants which blend and package windshield wash and other auto aftermarket chemicals, all of which historically flowed through the Highline warehouse system.


*The experience cited here is not necessarily reflective of all who have partnered with Sterling. Past performance does not guarantee future results.