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Safelite Group suggests it may buy Giant Glass

Mass. company, with five locations in state, declines to comment on possibility

Giant Glass president Dennis Drinkwater has become a staple at Red Sox games.

Dominic Chavez/Globe Staff/file 2005

Giant Glass president Dennis Drinkwater has become a staple at Red Sox games.

Safelite Group, the country’s largest provider of vehicle glass repair services, suggested Monday that it is trying to acquire a prominent competitor in Massachusetts, Giant Glass Co., but declined to provide details.

“Nothing has been finalized at this time,” said Melina Metzger, the public relations manager for Safelite Group in Columbus, Ohio, adding that it was premature to make any announcements.

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Giant Glass, based in North Andover, did not return calls Monday seeking comment.

Reached on Sunday, company president Dennis Drinkwater said he had “no plans as of right now” to sell the company. But Drinkwater hung up when asked if he was considering a sale at all.

Safelite employs more than 10,000 people across the country and operates Safelite AutoGlass, one of the nation’s biggest providers of windshield and window glass repair services. It served more than 4.4 million customers last year.

The firm is a unit of Belron, a British vehicle glass company, which in turn is controlled by the D’Ieteren group in Belgium.

Giant Glass, founded in 1978, has five locations, in Peabody, Worcester, Lawrence, Weymouth, and North Andover, plus a fleet of 30 vehicles that provide mobile glass replacement.

Drinkwater has become a staple at Red Sox games over the years with a seat behind home plate. The company has also been a Red Sox sponsor and is a frequent advertiser on local radio.

Many glass repair companies like Giant and Safelite serve customers by dispatching vans directly to peoples’ homes or offices. The service is often fully covered by insurance.

But the industry faces competition as new players entering the business and consumers using video instructions to fix problems themselves.

The Massachusetts Glass Dealers Association, a lobbying group that represents companies like Giant, could not be reached for comment.

Globe correspondent Matt Rocheleau contributed to this report. Todd Wallack can be reached at twallack@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @twallack.
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