Kerrigan Advisors Represents Ken Garff Automotive Group in Sale of Houston CDJR Dealership to Keating Auto Group

Written by:
Melanie Webber
mWEBB Communications
June 17, 2024

Sale of Northwest Chrysler Dodge Ram Jeep in Houston underscores demand for dealerships in high-growth, densely populated markets; Kerrigan Advisors leads the industry in buy/sell transactions, particularly in Texas – 17 franchises sold in 12 months

HOUSTON,TX – June 17, 2024 – Kerrigan Advisors, the premier sell-side advisor and thought partner to auto dealers nationwide, represented Salt Lake City, UT-based Ken Garff Automotive Group, the third largest private dealership group in the US, in its sale of Northwest Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram “CDJR” to Victoria, TX-based Keating Auto Group. This transaction represents Kerrigan Advisors’ 17th Texas franchise sold in the last 12 months, cementing the firm’s leadership position in the state's buy/sell market.

Ken Garff Automotive Group, ranked ninth largest US dealership group by Automotive News based on 2023 new unit sales, was founded by Ken Garff after opening his first dealership 90 years ago in Utah. The group has since expanded to nine states with 73 dealerships and 28brands. Keating Auto Group is the 17th largest US dealership group and one of the largest in the state, with an estimated 30 dealerships across Texas.

“Once we decided to selectively divest this CDJR dealership, we knew Kerrigan Advisors was the only team to represent us,” said Brett Hopkins, CEO of Ken Garff Automotive Group. “We strive to work with the best service providers in the industry and have always valued our relationship with Kerrigan Advisors. True to form, they ran a sales process that was professional and efficient, resulting in an excellent financial outcome for all parties.”

Northwest CDJR, owned by Ken Garff Automotive Group since 2007, is located in the high-volume Northwest Houston auto retail market with a uniquely large market area for the franchises. Houston is known for its strong truck and SUV market where, in 2023, 78% of new units sold were light trucks, resulting in high revenue per vehicle for SUV and truck-focused franchises. This makes it a very attractive market for CDJR, given its robust lineup of SUVs and trucks. Stellantis is also an industry leader in plug-in hybrid vehicle sales, an increasingly attractive alternative to electric vehicles. Notably, Jeep dominates the plug-in hybrid market in Houston, with the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee ranking #1 and #2 in Houston, respectively, in2023.  

“We were thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the Garff team again,” said Ryan Kerrigan, Managing Director of Kerrigan Advisors. “This transaction was a classic example of the extraordinary buyer demand for domestic dealerships in high-growth markets. And, as evidenced by the level of interest we saw in this high-volume metro store, Texas is one of the hottest markets in the country. As they say, everything is bigger in Texas! We are proud to have found the right buyer for this dealership, one who understands the scope of this market and who will continue Northwest CDJR’s success.”

Houston is the 2nd largest MSA in the state, home to 7.3 million and anchored by 26 Fortune 500 companies and a flourishing economy. In addition to being highly regarded as an economically vibrant city, Houston is considered one of the best places in the US to live and do business in. Home to 9,000+ technology-related firms, NASA’s Johnson Space Center and more than 1,000 venture-backed startups, Houston was rated the#1 Best Place for Foreign Business in 2023 by the Financial Times and the #1Destination for Millennials to Move from Austin by Harvard University.

“I want to thank the Garff family for entrusting Kerrigan Advisors to serve as their exclusive sell-side advisor on this transaction,” said Erin Kerrigan, Founder and Managing Director of Kerrigan Advisors. “With an estimated 250+ new residents moving to Houston every day, the area has consistently ranked in the top five for population growth. Transactions like this continue to demonstrate that there is strong buyer demand for the fastest growing markets in the US, like Houston. We are proud to have helped shepherd this transaction to such a successful outcome and congratulate Ben Keating and his team on a stellar addition to the Keating Auto Group.”

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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