August 2, 2010, 6:16 PM

E-retailer U.S. Auto Parts purchases Whitney Automotive

Whitney also owns and operates, and

Mark Brohan

Research Director

Lead Photo

Whitney Automotive, one of the oldest direct marketers of auto parts and accessories and operator of, is about to be under new ownership.

Whitney, which also owns and operates,, and, has agreed to be acquired by U.S. Auto Parts Network in a deal valued at $27.5 million and the assumption of approximately $11 million in trade-related and other payables, says U.S. Auto Parts Network, No. 91 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. Based on other factors the stock purchase price could increase to around $29 million, says U.S. Auto Parts Network.

The deal for Whitney, No. 119 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, is expected to close in August and add an additional $110 million to $120 million in annual revenue to U.S Auto Parts Network, the company says.

"With this acquisition, U.S. Auto Parts adds one of the most recognizable consumer facing brands in the online auto parts market, which should increase our customer reach, provide product line expansion and enhance our distribution footprint," says U.S. Auto Parts CEO Shane Evangelist. "And, most importantly, we will be adding very talented team members who can help U.S. Auto Parts take advantage of the favorable market conditions for the online auto parts market."

Whitney, which has operated the J.C. Whitney brand for 95 years and carries more than 6 million automotive parts and accessories in its online inventory, also will help U.S. Auto Parts, which generated sales of $176.3 million in 2009, broaden its fulfillment and distribution program, says Evangelist. Whitney owns a $10 million Illinois distribution center which holds approximately $15 million in inventory and was custom built for the business-to-consumer distribution of auto parts, says U.S. Auto Parts. “The acquisition would allow U.S. Auto Parts to complete a three-distribution center network, and thus should increase its distribution footprint and allow for 95% of customers in the US to receive parts within two days of purchase using ground or common carriage,” says Evangelist.

Once the deal is closed, U.S. Auto Parts will integrate Whitney into its operation by sometime in 2011, the company says. "We believe that the combination of Whitney's established brands and focus on the customer experience, coupled with U.S. Auto Parts' capacity to compete online, creates a huge opportunity for growth," says Whitney CEO Tom West.



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