Holman nearly doubles auto retail business with Leith Automotive megadeal

Written by:
Julie Walker
March 19, 2024

The transaction closed this week and nearly doubles Holman's auto retail business. It's the latest in a slew of large dealership group acquisitions.

Holman, one of the largest private dealership groups in the U.S., has nearly doubled its new-vehicle store count following the completed acquisition of Leith Automotive Group of Raleigh, N.C.

Holman on Monday purchased Leith Automotive, a move co-announced by the companies in January.

It's the largest automotive retail acquisition in Holman's 100-year history, the company said. The group launched in 1924 with a single dealership. Terms of the transaction weren't disclosed.

"This acquisition represents the culmination of extensive strategy, hard work and vision to put our employee partners and our business in a position to win for the next 100 years," Holman CEO Chris Conroy said in a statement.

The transaction appears to be the largest deal closed this year in terms of franchised dealership count, according to the Automotive News Research & Data Center.

The megadeal follows other large transactions including Asbury Automotive Group Inc. spending $1.2 billion to purchase Jim Koons Automotive Cos. in December, Morgan Automotive Group buying South Motors and Vista Motors in January, Ciocca Dealerships adding 10 dealerships in its February acquisition of Apple Automotive from Stewart Cos., and Lithia Motors Inc. buying Pohlad Co.'s Carousel Motor Group in February.

The Leith portfolio in North Carolina includes more than 25 franchised dealerships in Aberdeen, Cary, Wendell and Raleigh. Also included in the transaction was Leith's Jaguar used-car and service center and an auction center, a Holman spokesman confirmed.

The Leith dealership names will remain and Holman is gaining about 1,900 employees.

Holman, of Mount Laurel, N.J., now owns nearly 60 franchised dealerships selling 34 brands in nine states. The group now employs about 4,500 people.

The Leith acquisition introduced 13 new brands to the retailer's stable, including Acura, Alfa Romeo and Volkswagen.
Before the acquisition, Holman sold mostly luxury brands in eight states, including California, Pennsylvania and Florida, according to its website.

Leith late last year partnered with Vietnamese electric vehicle startup VinFast, and in late December VinFast opened its first franchised dealership in the U.S. with Leith.

Holman ranks No. 26 on Automotive News' list of the top 150 dealerships groups in the U.S., retailing 23,902 new vehicles in 2022. That year, it generated nearly $3.4 billion in revenue.

Kerrigan Advisors, a sell-side firm in Incline Village, Nev., represented Leith in the transaction.

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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