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’18 may bring dealership buy-sell bonanza

Early indicators signal a bustling buy-sell market this year as individual dealers and groups contemplate selling to exit an increasingly complex and uncertain retail world — or buying more stores to gain scale to better compete in that evolving retail landscape.

"Since the end of December, we have been getting nonstop calls — buyers and sellers, but mostly sellers," said buy-sell adviser Sheldon Sandler, partner in Bel Air Partners in Hopewell, N.J. "Private equity interest has died down, so they're not the buyers. It's the larger dealer groups, public and private."

Erin Kerrigan, managing director of buy-sell advisory Kerrigan Advisors in Irvine, Calif., predicts the public groups will be "much more active" in 2018. "Some of them will be making big bets on major groups and maybe even beyond our borders."

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