Driven Brands To Acquire Fix Auto USA, ACAB

Driven Brands has announced it will acquire Fix Auto USA (FUSA) and Auto Center Auto Body (ACAB), adding almost 150 franchised and 10 company owned collision repair locations to its brand.

“We are thrilled to add the Fix team to Driven Brands despite the current business climate,” said Jonathan Fitzpatrick, CEO of Driven Brands. “Our word and reputation for being good partners are incredibly important to us. 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.”

Driven Brands says that all locations will keep their Fix branding but will be joining the CARSTAR, Maaco, ABRA and Uniban brands in the Collision & Glass segment. Driven Brands has around 3250 footprint locations across North America.

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

Shelly and Erick Bickett opened their first Auto Center Auto Body in 1984 and co-founded FUSA. They were also founding members of the Collision Industry Electronic Commerce Association (CIECA) in 1995, Cyncast in 2000 and the CCI training institute in 2015.

“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.”

“Driven Brands’ mission and unwavering commitment to its consumers, franchisees, employees, and industry partners align with our vision,” said Shelly and Erick Bickett. “We look forward to the many benefits that our two organisations and our franchisees will gain from one another, including industry-leading solutions tailored for our customers. There is exciting growth ahead. We look forward to working with Driven Brands as leaders in the collision repair industry.”

“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,” said David Roberts, Managing Director of FOCUS Advisors and leader of the FUSA/ACAB transaction. “Additionally, the acquisition of ACAB positions Driven to begin building its own consolidation platform.”

Mondofix hints at legal action over continued use of Fix Auto brand

After reports of the transaction began to surface, Mondofix, the owner of the Fix Auto Trademark globally, issued a press release which announced that the company was “disappointed and alarmed” by the acquisition and Driven Brands’ plans to use the Fix Auto brand in the US.

“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,” said Steve Leal, CEO of the Fix Network. “As such, we will pursue all legal avenues open to us to protect our lawful position as the owner of the Fix Auto trademark and design in the United States.”

Fix Auto USA and Mondofix’s relationship has been the subject of litigation for the last few years. Fix Auto USA took legal action in 2017 to retain the right to use the Fix Auto brand in the US, when Mondofix issued a press release stating intent to regain the rights to use the trademark in the US and enter the country’s market directly before the end of the year.

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, according to unnamed sources.