I received a curious email today, asking about any connections between Snap-on and Harbor Freight Tools.
Hello, I am an assistant to a Snap-on mobile dealer. I’ve had a few guys get on the truck in recent weeks and say “Snap-on is owned by harbor freight,” but I can’t seem to find anything about ties connecting these two companies. Can you confirm or deny this for me?
To my knowledge, NO, Snap-on is NOT in any way, shape, or form owned by Harbor Freight Tools.
Snap-on is a part of Snap-on Incorporated, which is a publicly-traded company with symbol SNA. In other words, individuals and institutions hold shares of the company in the same way as with other publicly-traded brands such as Coca Cola, Apple, Home Depot, and Stanley Black & Decker.
Harbor Freight is a privately-owned company.
I could not find any known, acknowledged, or suspected connections between the two companies.
While in theory Harbor Freight Tools could own shares in Snap-on Incorporated, that’s not what would be implied by “Snap-on is owned by Harbor Freight.”
This is an unsubstantiated falsity, one that’s no more true than the idea of Home Depot owning Lowe’s.
There are April Fools Day jokes on public forums every few years, about Snap-on buying parts of Harbor Freight, or Harbor Freight owning Snap-on, but none of that is true, at least not to my knowledge.
There have been lawsuits between the two companies, and Harbor Freight often “compares” their tools to Snap-on’s higher-priced offerings in marketing language.
Unless anyone can come form with concrete information, it’s safe to say that NO, Harbor Freight does NOT own Snap-on Tools.