Indiana Auto Auction has acquired local competitor Fort Wayne Auto Truck Auction for an undisclosed sum, a partner in the deal confirmed Tuesday.
The news puts an end to speculation over Fort Wayne Auto Truck Auction's next move after it failed this month to win zoning approval that would have allowed it to conduct truck auctions at Auburn Auction Park, site of DeKalb County's largest annual event, the Labor Day weekend classic car auction.
The Auburn Board of Zoning Appeals denied the request less than two weeks ago.
Kevin Brown, managing partner of Indiana Auto Auction, said his firm has been talking about a merger with Fort Wayne Auto Truck Auction's owners “for a little while.” The deal came together within the last few weeks, he said.
“We competed, but we didn't have a rivalry,” he said. “It was a friendly merger.”
Indiana Auto Auction employs about 140 full-time and part-time workers, Brown said. Managers are interviewing any Fort Wayne Auto Truck Auction employees who want to move to the new employer.
“I don't really have a definite number” of how many of the workers will be hired, he added. Brown didn't have an employee count for Fort Wayne Auto Truck Auction.
The combined operation will be on Indiana Auto Auction's 87-acre lot at 4425 W. Washington Center Road. A few hundred vehicles remain at 3600 E. Washington Blvd., the former home of Fort Wayne Auto Truck Auction. That company conducted its last sale Tuesday.
The cars and trucks will be moved, if their owners agree to include the items in a future Indiana Auto Auction sale.
Indiana Auto Auction, which is owned by the Stanley Autenrieth Auction Group, conducts auto auctions for car dealers every Thursday and truck auctions every other Wednesday.
“We still have to prove ourselves,” Brown said, referring to his staff and business partners Eric Autenrieth, Henry Stanley and Patty Stanley.
“We're taking it from a good two auction town,” he said, “to a great one auction town.”