Online parts shop Winparts joins Alliance Automotive Group (AAG) and becomes a subsidiary of the largest automotive parts distributor in the world. With the share transfer, founders Ari and Meinard van Essen, make a forward leap into the global online channel. AAG and parent company GPC’s focus on this channel had so far been limited.
‘There’s a lot to be gained right there, for both parties,’ according to Lennart Dekker. Winparts’ Commercial Director sees the opportunities in this surprising cooperation. Dekker: ‘It is actually a very logical step. We are strong online, and target consumers. Alliance Automotive Group Benelux (AAGB) is strong offline, with a focus on garages. Maybe even the strongest, with its recent launch of PartsPoint – the largest wholesaler network of the Netherlands.’
Founder Ari van Essen agrees with his commercial man: ‘Together with the team, we have built up Winparts into Dutch market leader in 14 years. We took the first steps into for example Belgium and Sweden. The time has come to take the next, international growth step. We believed it would be better for Winparts to do so under the wings of an international strategic buyer. With the assistance of Joep van den Enk and Jeroen Oldengarm of M&A advisor Marktlink, we explored the market. AAG was our preferred candidate, and we are happy that Winparts will take the next step with it.’
Cor Baltus, Managing Director AAGB, about the acquisition: ‘Indeed, we recently launched PartsPoint in the Netherlands and now have everything to optimally service our most important customers: garage owners. More so with GPC and AAG behind us. As a group we have been rolling out a multichannel strategy for some time, and this acquisition must be viewed from that perspective. Winparts is a great asset to the group and we are very happy it opted for AAG.’
Both in Winneweer (Winparts) and in Ede (AAGB) the synergy benefits are recognised. Winparts knows how to reach and serve online customers perfectly. Baltus: ‘That’s pivotal. We have a lot to learn from them when it comes to online, and they benefit from our knowledge of the garage industry. That knowledge and experience must lead to synergy; for example, PartsPoint customers could also be installation partners for parts and accessories ordered online. We are looking for win-win.’
Joining of forces
Lennart Dekker about this joining of forces: ‘The first gain is surely our knowledge of the online customer. That knowledge can be used by PartsPoint to serve its customers, the garage owners, better. In turn, Winparts gains enormous purchasing power and back-up of a great team of automotive specialists. There are endless opportunities. We are eager to pass all synergy benefits on to consumers and garage owners alike, as soon as possible.’
In the short term, nothing changes for customers of either party. The coming months will be used to elaborate the multichannel strategy and exploit ‘win-win’ opportunities. Winparts’ management team (Jan-Jaap Boersma, Lennart Dekker, Pascal Imbos) stays intact and finds a sparring partner in Cor Baltus and his team, with ample experience in both the aftermarket and the dealer channel.