In a transaction one top executive called a “industry changing,” last week Reynolds and Reynolds announced the acquisition of American Guardian Warranty Services (AGWS), a provider of vehicle service contracts, limited warranties and other F&I products and services.

Reynolds said the acquisition will provide a “clear path” for dealers looking to streamline selling aftermarket products no matter where the customer is — online, in-store, or a combination of the two.

“Consumers are demonstrating that regardless of how they shop, they see growing value in F&I products. But they expect to be educated and they expect accurate pricing,” Reynolds president Chris Walsh said in a news release.

“AGWS has proven to be the leader in aftermarket product offerings and customer service, and Reynolds provides the tools to help sell effectively, rate products, and book contracts instantly no matter where the customer is.”

When the acquisition finalizes, Reynolds said the current AGWS leadership team will remain in place, adding that it believes in the value and importance of its people and the company looks forward to welcoming AGWS employees to its team.

“For 25 years, AGWS has grown and thrived as a leader, innovator, and important part of the F&I products business and retail vehicle industry,” said Jon Anderson, president of AGWS.

“Now, combined with Reynolds’ industry-leading technology and tools, like the docuPAD system and Gubagoo Virtual Retailing, dealers will be able to provide a seamless F&I selling experience for both their customers and their employees,” Anderson continued in the news release.

Reynolds executive vice president of corporate development Robert Burnett added, “The acquisition of AGWS shows Reynolds’ continued growth through strategic investments as we expand our footprint in retail automotive.

“Much like our acquisition of Proton Dealership IT last year, AGWS has established itself as a leader in the segment of the industry they are experts in,” Burnett went on to say.

The move is significant in many ways for AGWS co-founder Rogers Freedlund Jr., who will be retiring after more than 50 years in the industry upon completion of the transaction and a decades-long career of leading and building four companies.

“This opportunity brings together the immense skills, resources, and experience of two industry-leading companies. The outcome will be industry changing,” Freedlund said. “Thank you to all the AGWS team and everyone involved with this transaction.”

Katten Muchin Rosenman in Chicago served as legal advisor to AGWS on the transaction. Waller Helms Advisors served as exclusive financial advisor to AGWS on the transaction.

Colonnade Securities served as exclusive financial advisor to Reynolds. Colonnade was selected by Reynolds due to its position as a leading investment bank in mergers and acquisitions for the auto F&I industry.

“Reynolds and AGWS are a great fit together due to AGWS’s expertise and unrivaled service, and Reynolds’ knowledge, resources, and ability to scale,” Walsh said. “The quality products and services AGWS offers are an essential part of every automotive consumer’s journey, and an important part of the success of dealerships across the country.”