Dealer M&A roundup: Another 9 stores change hands

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Auto Remarketing
October 19, 2022

It’s still early in the fourth quarter of 2022, but the pace of mergers and acquisitions happening among dealerships remains on a brisk pace with nine rooftops involved in actions announced this week.

Kerrigan Advisors was involved in a pair of stores changing hands in Illinois, while Haig Partners helped to facilitate a transaction connected with six dealerships in Ohio. Also, LMP Automotive Holdings announced the closing of the sale of one of its New York dealerships.

The largest transaction included Haig Partners serving as the exclusive sell-side advisor to Canton, Ohio-based Waikem Auto Family on the sale of its six dealerships to Diehl Automotive Group.

According to a news release from Haig, the transaction includes Honda, Ford, Kia, Subaru, Hyundai and Mitsubishi dealerships plus a collision center and Quick Lane facility.

Haig highlighted Waikem Auto Family is a third-generation business that has been a mainstay in the Canton, Ohio area for more than 70 years. It was established in 1957 by George Waikem Sr., with a single Ford dealership. Sons Chip, Doug and David have grown the group to six locations, and third-generation family members, Craig Waikem, George “Deuce” Waikem II and Chris Waikem are members of the management team.

“We are extremely happy to have found another family looking to continue selling and servicing cars in Stark County, Ohio the right way. We are thankful to our associates and customers over the last 65-plus years,” David Waikem said in Haig’s news release.

Diehl Automotive Group, based in Butler, Pa., is led by Corina Diehl and her son, Matt Diehl.

“We are looking forward to serving Massillon, greater Canton, and the surrounding areas for many years to come. We are honored to carry the legacy the Waikem family has built with the incredible team they have assembled,” Matt Diehl said in the news release.

Haig Partners has been involved in the purchase or sale of 38 dealerships nationwide so far this year.

“Automotive retail continues to evolve rapidly. Consumers are demanding a more efficient, technology-driven buying experience and broad inventory selection. As a result, dealers are having to adapt quickly to a shifting environment and the need for scale to compete effectively,” said Kevin Nill, a partner with Haig Partners.

“Dealership values continue to be very strong and buyer demand is as robust as ever. This has many dealers analyzing their current situation and making the decision to exit while they can get a premium for their stores,” Nill continued.

“I am grateful to the Waikem family for their trust in me and my firm to run a competitive process and uncover the best possible buyer for their family business,” he went on to say.

Charles Ringer and Robert Poklar of Weston Hurd served as legal counsel to Waikem Auto Family.

Dealer moves in Chicago
Also this week, Kerrigan Advisors represented and advised Sun Motor Cars of Chicago, owned by Daniel Sunderland and David Nocera on the sale of Mercedes-Benz & Sprinter of Orland Park and the scheduled sale of Mercedes-Benz of Bourbonnais to Illinois and Florida-based Fields Auto Group.

According to another news release, this transaction marks Kerrigan Advisors’ 161st and 162nd dealership sale since its founding in 2015 and the firm’s fifth multi-dealership transaction of the year.

As part of this transaction, Fields is scheduled to acquire and relocate Mercedes-Benz of Bourbonnais to a newly built dealership in Romeoville.

With this move, the Orland Park and Romeoville Mercedes-Benz and Sprinter franchises will be the exclusive dealers for Mercedes in the growing southwestern region of Chicago, serving a population of over 650,000.

Opened almost 30 years ago, Mercedes-Benz & Sprinter of Orland Park became one of the highest volume luxury dealerships in Orland Park, the fifth largest luxury market in the Chicago area.

Under the leadership of Nocera, a longtime member of Mercedes-Benz Dealer Council, Mercedes-Benz of Orland Park built a reputation for outstanding customer and employee service, receiving numerous awards, including Mercedes’ ‘Best of the Best’ six times and the ‘Employee Choice Best Place to Work Award’ two years in a row.

“Mercedes-Benz & Sprinter of Orland Park are pillars in the south Chicago auto market. The success of these dealerships is built upon the stellar work of our committed, longtime employees and a heartfelt commitment to top customer service,” Nocera said in the news release from Kerrigan.

“We are grateful to Kerrigan Advisors for identifying the Fields organization as the right buyer to continue our commitment to our customers, employees and community, particularly with the expansion into the Romeoville market. We are excited to see Fields capitalize on their strong brand and enter the south Chicago car market with our stores,” he continued.

Sunderland described the experience working with Kerrigan.

“When we decided it was the right time to sell, we knew Kerrigan Advisors had the most experience with higher value dealerships. They’ve sold more luxury franchises in the Midwest, particularly Chicago, than any firm in the industry,” Sunderland said. “The expertise of the Kerrigan Advisors’ team, particularly Marie Brashears, proved invaluable throughout the sale process and ensured as smooth a closing as possible. We are very grateful they were our advisors and by our side throughout this transaction.”

Mark Lyman of Lyman Law Firm provided legal counsel to the seller. Stephen Dietrich and Henry Lowe of Holland & Knight provided legal counsel to the buyer.

“We were honored to represent these two highly valuable Mercedes dealerships in the Chicagoland market on behalf of the Sunderland and Nocera families,” said Erin Kerrigan, founder and managing director of Kerrigan Advisors.

“This transaction is an excellent example of the continued strength of the buy/sell market, particularly for top luxury franchises like Mercedes. Many growing groups are seeking to add high volume Mercedes dealerships in major U.S. metros,” Kerrigan went on to say.

LMP’s move
Finally, LMP Automotive Holdings, an e-commerce and facilities-based automotive retailer in the United States, announced it has closed on the sale of its Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram Dealership in White Plains, N.Y.

No other details about the transaction were included in the company news release.

About Kerrigan Advisors

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.

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