Marubeni and Lithia Team Up with Apollo Funds for Strategic Investment in Wheels


Although Wheels operates as a fleet management company today, the legacy business began in 1939 as an auto dealership, deepening their appreciation of automotive companies such as Marubeni and Lithia, Shlomo Crandus, CEO of Wheels, said.

Wheels announced that it received a significant minority investment from Marubeni Corporation (Marubeni) and Lithia & Driveway (Lithia).

The investment aligns Wheels with specific players in the commercial fleet and mobility spaces as it continues to expand its product offerings to corporate clients.

“We are excited to receive the backing of two highly sophisticated investors. Our clients are always at the heart of everything we do, and that will continue as we innovate and grow with Marubeni and Lithia,” Shlomo Crandus, CEO of Wheels, said.

Marubeni and Lithia’s Contributions to a Long-Term Partnership

Marubeni has a track record of investing in companies across the US automotive value chain, dating back to 1958. Current Marubeni portfolio companies in the mobility sector include businesses focused on consumer auto finance, refrigerated trailer rental and leasing, and short-term commercial vehicle rentals.

As an investor in Wheels in partnership with Apollo-managed funds, Marubeni is aligned with Apollo’s long-term vision for Wheels. In addition to providing expertise in the automotive sector, Marubeni enables further access to diversified funding channels through its longstanding relationships in Japan.

Lithia shares Wheels’ commitment to delivering offerings across the vehicle lifecycle, from vehicle acquisition and financing to maintenance and repair.

Another Way to Benefit

Although Wheels operates as a fleet management company today, the legacy business began in 1939 as an auto dealership, deepening their appreciation of automotive companies such as Marubeni and Lithia, Crandus said. In their partnership, Wheels will benefit from the knowledge that Marubeni and Lithia collectively contribute to the automotive industry.

Subject to customary closing conditions, the transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2024.



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