Les Schwab tire store company up for sale

Three locations in Kent

Oregon-based Les Schwab, with three locations in Kent and nearly 500 across 10 states, is up for sale.

Nearly 70 years after Les Schwab founded the company, its board and shareholders are seeking new ownership for the customer-focused tire retailer.

“Our incredible Tire Centers, and the company and communities we have built together, make us proud,” Les’ family said in a Dec. 24 statement. “As hard as it is to make the decision to sell this company, we are confident it will offer tremendous opportunity to build on all we have accomplished together for our customers, communities and our employees. We are excited to see what the future will bring.”

Born in 1917 in Bend, Oregon, Les Schwab came from humble beginnings. He was a self-made man, and believed in old-fashioned hard work. Schwab built his business from one store to hundreds of locations across the western states, making Les Schwab one of the largest independent tire businesses in the United States, according to the company website.

Although Schwab died in 2007, his vision remains at the core of the company’s culture: give people more for their money … reward employees for their expertise and hard work … earn people’s trust and everyone benefits, according to the company website. Today, the 7,000+ employees of Les Schwab Tire Centers carry on this legacy.

The privately held company on Dec. 24 confirmed it had hired Goldman Sachs to find a buyer, according to Oregonlive.com. It didn’t disclose a potential buyer or expected price tag.

Bloomberg News reported earlier that the company expected it could fetch a price of at least $3 billion.

Les Schwab operates 492 locations across 10 states, including Washington, Oregon and California.

Schwab wanted to keep the business family owned and rebuffed offers over the years from French tire magnate Francois Michelin and billionaire investor Warren Buffet, according to Oregonlive.com.