Kerrigan Advisors Represented Priority 1 Automotive Group in Its Sale to AutoNation - Largest Transaction on Record in Baltimore-Washington Market

Written by:
Melanie Webber
mWEBB Communications
November 11, 2021

Priority 1 sale marks the 21st group sale Kerrigan Advisors has represented since 2015

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Kerrigan Advisors represented Baltimore, Maryland-based Priority 1 Automotive Group in its sale to AutoNation on November 8, 2021. The acquisition is one of the largest completed by AutoNation since 2018, and the largest on record in the Mid-Atlantic region. Kerrigan Advisors, which focuses exclusively on sell-side representation, is the most active sell-side advisor on larger transactions in the auto retail industry.

The sale included Porsche Towson, BMW of Rockville, BMW of Towson, BMW of Bel Air, MINI of Baltimore County, Jaguar Land Rover Hunt Valley, Audi Owings Mills, Acura of Hunt Valley and Frankel & Chesapeake Cadillac, as well as three collision centers located in Cockeysville/Hunt Valley, Rockville, and Towson.

"Kerrigan Advisors was the only buy/sell advisor I considered when my family decided the time was right for a sale. I have known Erin Kerrigan and her team for a long time and have always been impressed by their professionalism and hard-work on behalf of clients," said Lou Cohen, President of Priority 1 Automotive Group. "Kerrigan's expertise selling large multi-dealership groups like ours, combined with their keen understanding of the most active buyers in the industry, is the kind of intelligence that is critical in today's buy/sell market. Kerrigan Advisors brought that to our transaction process, and more."Prior to the transaction, AutoNation owned six dealerships in the Baltimore-Washington market. After the completion of this transaction, AutoNation will own over 40% of the luxury dealerships in the Baltimore market.

"We were honored to represent the Cohen family in the sale of their very valuable dealership group to AutoNation. This transaction was a natural fit for our firm, given our expertise in managing the complexities associated with large multi-dealership transactions and our knowledge of the Mid-Atlantic, where we maintain an office," said Erin Kerrigan, Founder and Managing Director of Kerrigan Advisors. "We were grateful for the opportunity to identify a buyer who would continue the Cohen's legacy of customer and community service in the Baltimore-Washington market."

Priority 1 serves the Baltimore-Washington area, which is the 4th largest US region by population, with over nine million residents, and one of the most educated, high income-earning regions in the country. Lou Cohen has led auto retail businesses in Baltimore-Washington since 1961 and has a record of success in the market. In 1979, Cohen acquired his first new car franchise, ABC Chevrolet, and ultimately added nine more franchises to his Heritage Auto Group before selling that group in 1997. In 2000, Cohen re-entered the new car business with the purchase of BMW of Towson, adding an additional eight top luxury franchises in the Baltimore-Washington market to become one of the largest luxury groups in the Mid-Atlantic. After the sale, the Cohen family will continue to operate a leasing business and used car operation.

"Our family legacy in auto retail in Baltimore goes back to the 60s, so we did not take this sale process lightly," said Marc Cohen, Vice President of Priority 1 Automotive Group. "With Kerrigan Advisors' expert advice, knowledge of the top buyers for the Mid-Atlantic region and focus on exclusive sell-side representation, we were in excellent hands throughout the sale process. Their advice and guidance was invaluable."

"Our family has grown Priority 1 strategically, adding the best luxury franchises to enhance the value of our group and better serve our luxury customer base in the Baltimore-Washington market," said Alison Cohen, Vice President of Priority 1 Automotive Group. "Kerrigan Advisors understood the value of our luxury platform, including our group's potential, and found the right buyer for us in AutoNation."

"AutoNation's purchase of Priority 1 continues the trend of the largest consolidators increasing their market share in major metros throughout the US, a trend that is not abating," said Ryan Kerrigan, Managing Director of Kerrigan Advisors. "We expect 2022 to be as active a year as 2021, with more families, like the Cohens, deciding the time is right to monetize generations of hard work."

Stephen Dietrich of Holland & Knight and Freddie J. Traub of Friedman & Friedman, LLP served as legal counsel to Priority 1 Automotive Group.

Kerrigan Advisors is the most active sell-side advisor on larger transactions in the auto retail industry, achieving the highest sale price per client of any firm over the last five years. The firm attributes its success to its team's laser-focus on fulfilling each client's personal and professional goals. In addition to its sell-side advisory work, the firm offers strategic consulting services to dealers and their families, including growth planning, capital raising and valuation analysis, creating value at every stage of the auto retail lifecycle.

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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