Big companies grabbed big attention in 2013. From Guardian to Safelite to Boyd Group Income Fund, news from these industry giants dominated the top ten list of most clicked on glassBYTEs.com™ articles for the year. Whether shedding assets, being sued or acquiring other companies, the industry wanted to know what these AGRR companies were doing.
So which story came in with the most clicks for 2013? The top spot went to Safelite to Acquire Assets of Guardian Auto Glass, which broke on December 2. Safelite announced it had bought up almost all of the vehicle glass repair and replacement assets of Guardian Auto Glass. The company also purchased the glass insurance claims’ management assets of Guardian Glass Network, excluding the RV glass claims’ side of the business.
Following close on this article’s heels was Guardian Automotive Exiting Local Aftermarket Distribution Business. In this article news came that several companies had stepped up to purchase some of Guardian’s distribution centers. The remaining centers were expected to be liquidated by the end of the year.
Rumors were also prevalent in the AGRR industry during the year and these can cause quite stir as evident in our third most clicked on article. Speculation that Guardian was looking to purchase Pittsburgh Glass Works was a hot topic in Guardian Buying Portions of PGW? No One’s Talking, though so far no such deal has come to pass.
PGW’s Brian Bauer did, however, report in the late July article that Gary Eilers has returned as vice president and general manager for PGW’s ARG group.
Continuing on, the industry’s fascination with lawsuits was apparent in the next three articles to make the list. Coming in at number four was Woman Sues Safelite After Husband, Daughter Die in Rollover. A Montana woman who says she lost both her husband and young daughter in a rollover crash in which the windshield allegedly separated from the vehicle filed the lawsuit against Safelite, whom she claims replaced the windshield in the vehicle.
During the incident, attorneys allege “the windshield separated from the rest of the vehicle, contributing to the degree of crush sustained by the subject Tundra’s roof structure. … The Safelite defendants’ negligent installation of the windshield on the subject Tundra resulted in its failure in the rollover incident.”
The article to take the fifth spot was related. In the story titled Lawsuit Against Safelite Raises Questions about Company’s Guarantee, the industry had some questions about Safelite’s guarantee once it learned that the windshield replacement was performed by a subcontractor. Safelite says that its “Advantage” guarantee covers work by Safelite AutoGlass and that Safelite Solutions, its claims management business, does not warranty the work it subcontracts to other glass shops.
The original article on the Montana woman’s lawsuit—Suit Filed Against Safelite, Toyota After Double-Fatality Rollover—took the sixth spot in terms of clicks on glassBYTEs.com™.
And acquisition news was also a hot topic in 2013, with Safelite again grabbing attention by announcing that it had acquired North Andover, Mass.-based Giant Glass Co. In the seventh-place article, Industry Members React to Safelite Purchase of Giant, industry members voiced strong reactions to the acquisition news.
“My opinion is that this will be a continuing phenomenon,” says president of Service Auto Glass Inc. in Colorado Springs, Colo., in the article posted January 4. “With the market for auto glass replacement shrinking due to the economy, [fewer] miles driven, etc., companies will continue to ‘buy’ market share through acquisitions.”
News that a Washington, D.C.-based lawsuit was “investigating” a potential class action suit against Safelite AutoGlass, grabbed the eighth spot. In the article, Washington, D.C.-Based Law Firm Investigates Potential Class Action Suit Against Safelite, the firm, Mehri & Skalet PLLC, alleged that the company, in its role as a third-party administrator (TPA), encouraged consumers to have their windshields replaced in instances when they could be repaired.
Guardian returned front and center in the ninth most clicked on article, Industry Responds to Guardian Auto Glass Selling Retail Assets to Safelite. In the article posted December 10, Mark Liston, president of Glass Doctor, likens Safelite to the New York Yankees, saying “Who they can buy, they will. Simple as that.”
And rounding out the list of top ten most clicked on glassBYTEs.com™ articles was news that Boyd Group Income Fund had acquired a majority interest in Glass America. Winnipeg, Manitoba-based Boyd Group owns Boyd Autobody and Glass, Gerber Collision and Glass and Gerber National Glass Services.
“This acquisition is very attractive from both a strategic and a financial point of view,” said Brock Bulbuck, president and CEO of the Boyd Group in the article Boyd Acquires Controlling Interest in Glass America posted June 2.
Stay tuned to glassBYTEs.com™ for all the news in 2014. Happy New Year!