In October 2014’s Wholesale feature, Tyres & Accessories asked whether Europe’s independent tyre wholesalers still have a future in the context of the German company Ihle Baden Baden’s failure and subsequent sale to Michelin. Pointing to the lightening of the business due to such factors as the price transparency offered by e-commerce (and online marketing) we wondered whether the value of the relationship between customers and their suppliers had become more tenuous, relying only on price and reliability of deliveries. Should these two considerations become the only weapons in a wholesaler’s arsenal, T&A suggested that their role becomes more akin to a specialised freight forwarder.
Last year Michelin made news when it bought out the parent company of Germany’s largest wholesaler, Ihle Baden-Baden AG, and now the French tyre maker has increased its wholesale presence in Germany with the 100 per cent acquisition of Meyer Lissendorf, a wholesaler with a strong car tyre focus. Michelin has not disclosed the purchase price.
The German Federal Cartel Office has decided that no further proceedings are necessary prior to granting approval for Michelin’s planned acquisition of Ihle Holding AG, parent company of tyre wholesaler Ihle Baden-Baden AG. In an official notification, the Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt) reported that the acquisition is seen as posing no problem.
According to information available to Tyres & Accessories, major European wholesaler Ihle Baden-Baden AG may soon belong to Michelin. The French tyre maker is said to be planning a 100 per cent acquisition of parent company Ihle Holding AG, whose assets include some 20 companies. Ihle Baden-Baden AG, which is headquartered in the spa town that serves as its namesake, is Germany’s largest wholesaler and enjoys an annual turnover of around €175 million (2012). German and other European authorities are conducting merger control proceedings.