Bridgestone Takes Lead in Bidding War for Pep Boys

But Carl Icahn has the next move in the fight to obtain the Philly auto parts dealer.

Now it’s Carl Icahn’s move — again.

Days after Icahn made a $15.50-a-share offer to acquire Pep Boys, the Philly-based auto parts chain, Bridgestone Americas — which had previously offered $15 a share — agreed on Friday to match his price, raising its overall offer by $28 million.

Pep Boys’ board of directors, which had deemed Icahn’s bid the superior offer, withdrew that appraisal and instead seems to be once again preparing for a merger with Bridgestone, which is headquartered in Japan.

“The joining of Bridgestone and Pep Boys combines the expertise of nearly 200 years and a proud heritage in the American automotive aftermarket industry,” T.J. Higgins, president of consumer for U.S. and Canada, Bridgestone Americas’ tire operations, said in a written statement.

Both Icahn, the well-known investor, and Bridgestone would be in position to greatly expand their own businesses by acquiring Pep Boys and its 800 retail outlets. Bridgestone has 2,200 of its own outlets in the U.S., Yahoo! reports, while Icahn’s Auto Plus network has 2,300 stores.

Bridgestone’s tender offer expires on Jan. 4. Icahn could make a new counteroffer in the meantime.

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