Keep the IPO champagne on ice for now.
Charlotte-based American Tire Distributors, which in February filed plans to raise $230 million in an initial public offering, today announced it agreed to be bought by a private equity firm for $1.3 billion instead.
That news follows last week's decision by officials at Raleigh-based Lulu to postpone its planned IPO because of lackluster investor demand. American Tire's IPO would have been one of the largest in North Carolina in years.
IPOs are a risky step, and deals frequently get delayed or derailed for a variety of factors, including volatility on Wall Street. The stock market surge of the past year has revived IPO interest, but investors are still skittish about making bets on unproven companies.
American Tire's decision to be acquired gives its investors and executives a faster return than an IPO would. It agreed to be bought by TPG Capital, a massive equity firm known for its takeovers of companies such as J. Crew, Burger King and Petco.
American Tire, the largest distributor of replacement tires, was founded in 1935. The company employs 2,300 people and owns 83 tire distributions centers in 37 states.
The company sells tires mostly to mom-and-pop tire shops. Last fall, it launched TireBuyer.com, a Web site aimed at capturing more of the market for online tire shoppers.