AutoZone Inc., a rapidly expanding car parts chain with more than 2,000 stores, said Monday that it will acquire Chief Auto Parts Inc., the largest auto parts chain in Southern California, for about $280 million in cash and debt assumption.
The deal, subject to regulatory approval, would create a chain with about $3.2 billion in annual sales through 2,600 stores in 38 states.
Chief, founded in Norwalk in 1955, moved its headquarters to Dallas 20 years ago. It is owned by a unit of Los Angeles-based Trust Co. of the West.
The deal with AutoZone is part of a consolidation trend sweeping the auto industry. But whereas car makers such as Chrysler Corp. and Germany's Daimler-Benz are just starting on a round of marriages, parts retailers and wholesalers have been merging into ever-growing operations for most of the last decade.