AJ Prindle Sold to Private Investment Firm

AJ Prindle & Co., a multichannel business-to-consumer retailer of automotive accessories and a provider of incentive purchase programs to auto manufacturers and their dealer groups, was purchased Aug. 20 by Buffalo, NY-based private investment firm Banyan Enterprises.

AJ Prindle was founded by Ford Motor Company in 2000 as a catalog and Internet retailer, and was spun off in March 2001. The merchant sells auto accessories, navigation tools, sporting goods and mobile electronics, catering to a variety of driver lifestyles.

The company also provides incentive and premium purchase programs to automotive manufacturers such as Ford, DaimlerChrysler, Suzuki, Lincoln-Mercury, and their dealer groups.

The purchase is the first for Banyan, which said in a release that it is looking to buy several small to mid-sized direct sales businesses. Banyan’s primary targets are small, growth-ready companies with solid management and revenue streams despite cash and resource limitations.

“We see this space continuing to grow due to consumers becoming increasingly comfortable shopping by mail or through the Internet,” said Mark Chandley, a partner with Banyan. “Cost pressures such as postage increases are hurting margins and making it difficult for small players to remain competitive. We feel the time is right for consolidation.”

Eoin Comerford, president and COO of Farmington Hills, MI-based AJ Prindle, said he will remain with the company in his current capacities.

AJ Prindle mails 2.5 million 56-page catalogs a year. The catalog drops six times a year.