March 17, 2020—Illinois MSO Crash Champions announced late Tuesday that it has merged with California's Pacific Elite, a transaction that leaves the newly combined company as the fifth largest independent MSO in the country, according to officials.
Company executives told FenderBender on Tuesday that transaction leaves the combined business with 39 total locations.
"The two of us coming together, with a nice footprint in Los Angeles and us with a nice footprint in Chicago, I really saw some synergies with us coming together in two major U.S. markets," Matt Ebert, the CEO of Crash Champions, said in a phone interview.
Ebert noted that the plan, at present, is for Crash Champion locations in the midwest to keep that branding, while, for now, Pacific Elite locations will keep that branding on the west coast.
"We're going to make some branding decisions over time, when we can weigh it out properly," Ebert added. "Right out of the gate, we want to preserve the value that both brands bring to the table. And we'll plot our course in due time."
Mike Salyards, the president of Pacific Elite, said no staffing changes are expected in the near future, though employees could, in theory, change roles down the line.
"We both have great staffs that we're very proud of," Salyards said. "We plan to retain them."
Crash Champions began in 1999 in New Lenox, Ill. In 2014, it changed names to Crash Champions-New Lenox and the brand began to grow under Ebert's stewardship.
Pacific Elite, meanwhile, was established in 1998 and headquartered in Downey, Calif. It began as a single-shop operation in Fullerton, Calif. and evolved into 23 shop locations throughout southern California.
Now, the newly combined company is positioned, in Ebert's view, to take advantage of the scale benefits of being a national MSO.
"I like where the future is headed for this combined company," Ebert said. "I think we have a good business plan to move forward and grow our company ... charting a path forward."