Bridgestone is the world's largest manufacturer of tires, with factories in 26 countries supplying products for every form of vehicle from passenger cars to aircraft. It markets its tires primarily under the twin brands of Bridgestone and Firestone. It has been the global #1 in its market for more than a decade, ahead of Michelin, Goodyear and Continental. In 2018, the company merged its wholesale distribution network in the US with that of rival Goodyear to create a new independent joint venture, TireHub. Although it sounds like an American company, Bridgestone is actually Japanese, founded in 1931 by Shojiro Ishibashi (whose surname translates literally as "stone bridge"). Its American presence derives from the acquisition in 1988 of local giant Firestone Tire & Rubber. The two companies were initially merged as Bridgestone/Firestone Inc, but the latter brand has gradually been demoted to secondary status. Bridgestone makes other rubber-based products such vehicle parts, roofing and even golf balls, but tires account for 83% of total revenues, which were approximately $33bn in 2018, with net profit of approx $2.6bn. The US accounted for 40% of sales, and Japan for 20%. It is the leading manufacturer overall in North America, although its twin brands hold the #3 and #4 spot by market share behind Goodyear and Michelin. Its presence in Europe is much weaker than its rivals, but the group has investment stakes in Nokian tires of Finland and Turkey's Sabanci. In 2019, Bridgestone agreed to acquire the telematics division of European GPS operator TomTom for €910m. Masaaki Tsuya is group CEO.
Capsule checked 19th September 2019
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Adbrands Weekly Update 7th Jan 2016: Investor Carl Icahn successfully disrupted the previously announced acquisition of US auto accessories and repairs chain Pep Boys by Bridgestone following a bidding battle. His Icahn Enterprises vehicle topped Bridgestone's earlier offers with a bid of around $1bn. Icahn will also pay a deal termination fee to Bridgestone of almost $40m.
Adbrands Weekly Update 29th Oct 2015: The world's biggest tire manufacturer Bridgestone agreed to acquire US retailer and auto service provider Pep Boys for around $835m. The deal will significantly expand Bridgestone's US footprint, adding another 800 locations to its existing 2,300-strong retail estate. Significantly, Pep Boys doesn't currently stock Bridgestone products. The chain reported a small loss for its most recent fiscal year as a result of large charges against goodwill and for asset impairments. revenues were just over $2bn.
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