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No. 3 O'Reilly goes public

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Springfield-based O’Reilly Automotive Inc. was family owned from the time it was founded in November 1957 until the auto-parts dealer announced its plans to go public in March 1993.

The company’s initial public offering, made in April that same year, comprised more than 2.3 million shares of common stock for between $14 and $16 a share in an over-the counter offering on the Nasdaq.

Just two weeks after the announcement, public interest was so high that some financial services professionals were uncertain whether supply would keep pace with demand, according to Springfield
Business Journal coverage at the time.

The initial offering was made through an underwriting group managed by Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette Securities Corp. in New York and George K. Baum and Co. in Kansas City.

The company has grown steadily since going public, and in first-quarter 2010 O’Reilly (Nasdaq: ORLY) reported first-quarter earnings of $1.28 billion, and diluted earnings per common share of 70 cents on 139.6 million shares, up 52 percent from the same quarter one year earlier.

Much of O’Reilly’s growth has come via mergers and acquisitions, including its billion-dollar purchase of Phoenix-based CSK Auto in 2008.

Today, O’Reilly has 3,469 stores in 38 states, and total sales for 2009 were $4.85 billion, putting it neck-and-neck with Advanced Auto Parts for the No. 2 spot in the U.S. behind AutoZone.

This year, O’Reilly made its debut on the Fortune 500 list of the nation’s largest corporations at No. 429, and the company has projected the addition of 150 new locations in 2010.

See the full list of pivotal points chosen by the Springfield Business Journal here.

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