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Carlyle Group buys finished vehicle logistics provider United Road Services

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The Carlyle Group has acquired North American finished vehicle transport and logistics provider United Road Services from Charlesbank Capital Partners for an undisclosed sum.

The private equity and alternative asset management giant said it bought the company via its Equity Opportunity Fund II, a $2.4 billion fund that invests in middle-market companies in the US that require equity capital of $20m to $200m per transaction.

Headquartered in Romulus, Michigan, and founded in 1998, United Road serves 10,000-plus customers – including manufacturers, retailers, finance and leasing companies, rental agencies, auctions, web-based logistics firms and individuals.

The company transports more than 3m vehicles a year and says it is on track to reach 3.5m-plus in 2017, up from 1.5m in 2012.

“The Carlyle Group’s global reach and expertise, coupled with its reputation for helping companies thrive, make it an exceptional investor partner for United Road,” said Kathleen McCann, chairman and CEO of United Road Services. “We expect the Carlyle team will help us accelerate our disciplined growth and further enhance our ability to serve our customers.”

McCann will continue as CEO of United Road, with Mark Anderson staying on as president and COO. The balance of the current management team will also remain in place.

Asked about the impact of the buyout on United Road’s business McCann told Automotive Logistics that the company did not foresee any material changes. “We’ll continue to focus on serving our customers, taking care of our people and maximising our network through technology and market penetration.”

She added that the company saw great opportunity for organic growth.

Mary Petrovich, a Carlyle operating executive and chairwoman of one of its other investments, AxleTech International, will join the board of United Road.

Charlesbank acquired the company almost five years ago from investment firm Gores Group, which itself had bought the company in 2007.

“Our strategic growth platform was really turbocharged in late 2012 when we were acquired by Charlesbank,” said McCann. “They provided the capital, support and encouragement to expand our reach and capabilities – both organically and through the acquisition of a major competitor, which gave us a deeper presence in the south-east and south-west US.”

In December 2013, United Road bought Waggoners Trucking, making it the continent’s second largest car haulier behind Jack Cooper Transport.

Read more about the details of the takeover of United Road by The Carlyle Group in our car carrier report in the forthcoming October-December edition of Finished Vehicle Logistics magazine.