Mickey Anderson is president and CEO of Baxter Auto Group, which owns and operates 19 dealerships representing 10 manufacturers, including Audi, Ford, Honda, Infiniti, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Sprinter, Subaru, Toyota, and Volkswagen in Nebraska, Kansas, and Colorado. The company employs more than 1,400 associates. Anderson is a leader in the Omaha community and the automotive industry, where he is the immediate past chair of the Greater Omaha Chamber, chair of the Lake Cunningham Development Trust, and a governor of the Aksarben Foundation. Anderson also is a director of McCarthy Capital Corp, an Omaha-based private equity firm. In addition, Anderson serves on the Advisory Council for Student Athletes at his alma mater, the University of Notre Dame.
What prompted you to sell your four Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram dealerships in Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska, in 2022?
Mickey Anderson: I believed the market was ideal for selling these franchises. We are focused on diversifying geographically and the sale of these stores in our home market will provide us capital to pursue opportunities in new markets.
As a family-run business, what was the most challenging part of the sale?
Mickey Anderson: These stores had been in our group for two generations. There was an emotional tie to the stores, the manufacturing partner and, of course, our employees. It was very important to work with a consultant who shared our sensitivities and worked to find us the best buyer.
What surprised you about the sale process?
Mickey Anderson: Even though I have been involved in several acquisitions, I was surprised by the amount of time it took to complete the sale of multiple stores. Keeping the project on schedule and keeping all parties working toward the closing date was a daily task. Kerrigan’s experience and engagement were essential to getting the deal closed.
"Private groups can deliver a unique partnership, which provides great value for the OEMs." — Mickey Anderson, President of Baxter Auto Group
What do you think will be the biggest challenges and opportunities for private, family-owned and operated dealership groups over the next decade?
Mickey Anderson: Private, family-owned dealership groups are entrepreneurial and can adjust to changing market conditions more quickly and effectively than larger competitors. This is a tremendous advantage in today’s market. Private groups can deliver a unique partnership, which provides great value for the OEMs.
How are the risks of a near-term recession impacting how you manage your business and plan for future growth?
Mickey Anderson: Rising interest rates and the risk of a near-term recession cause me to use great discretion in pursuing new opportunities. Markets and manufacturers need to be evaluated based on their ability to perform in a much more challenging economy, rather than on their profits during the recent COVID-impacted years.
What do you think the auto retail business will look like in 10 years?
Mickey Anderson: All the direct-to-consumer modalities that became prominent during the pandemic are popular with consumers and will leave our sales models forever changed. Customers and OEMs will continue to prefer simplified, digital sales processes and transparent pricing models. Dealers will need to embrace these new strategies to remain relevant in the future.
Why did you choose Kerrigan Advisors?
Mickey Anderson: As a sell-side advisor, Kerrigan Advisors was singularly focused on helping me achieve my goal of finding the right buyer for my dealerships. They are very familiar with dealership groups across the country and developed an impressive list of qualified buyers. They were attentive to every detail and helped me successfully navigate several unforeseen complications. The entire team was expert, thoughtful and completely trustworthy.
Kerrigan Advisors is the premier sell-side advisor and thought partner to auto dealers nationwide. The firm advises the industry's leading dealership groups, enhancing value through the lifecycle of growing, operating and, when the time is right, selling their businesses. Kerrigan Advisors has represented some of auto retail's largest transactions and advised more of the largest dealership groups in the US than any other buy/sell firm in the industry. Led by a team of veteran industry experts with backgrounds in investment banking, private equity, accounting, finance and real estate, the firm does not take listings, rather they develop a customized approach for each client to achieve their personal and financial goals. In addition to Kerrigan Advisors' sell-side advisory and capital raising services, the firm also provides a suite of consulting services including growth strategy, market valuation assessments, capital allocation, transactional due diligence, open point proposals, operational improvement and real estate due diligence.
Kerrigan Advisors monitors conditions in the buy/sell market and publishes an in-depth analysis each quarter in The Blue Sky Report®, which includes Kerrigan Advisors' signature blue sky charts, multiples, and analysis for each franchise in the luxury and non-luxury segments.—To download a preview of the report, click here.—The firm also releases monthly The Kerrigan Index™ composed of the seven publicly traded auto retail companies with operations focused on the US market. The Kerrigan Auto Retail Index is designed to track dealership valuation trends, while also providing key insights into factors influencing auto retail.—To access The Kerrigan Index™, click here.—To read the—2023 Kerrigan OEM Survey, click here.—Kerrigan Advisors also is the co-author of NADA's Guide to Buying and Selling a Dealership.