SHERMAN OAKS, CA --- A San Diego-based private equity fund, Kelly Capital LLC, is moving toward acquiring Earl Scheib Inc., a national chain of 85 automotive paint and collision repair shops.

Based in the San Fernando Valley in southern California, Earl Scheib was founded in 1937. Its shops are located in 77 cities throughout the U.S.

The two parties have already reached a merger agreement that calls for Kelly Capital to acquire Earl Scheib for $2 per share, a 567 percent premium over its recent $0.30 per share price. The board unanimously approved the merger. If stockholders concur, the transaction is expected to close on April 15, the companies said. The transaction is valued at approximately $8 million.

In addition to the collision repair shops, the cash merger would also give Kelly a wholly owned Earl Scheib subsidiary that manufactures paint coating systems used in the automotive, equipment manufacturing and building construction industries.