Kerrigan Advisors Represents Keyes Automotive Group in Sale to Lithia Motors

Written by:
Melanie Webber
mWEBB Communications
November 10, 2020

Lithia Motors acquires nine Keyes Automotive Group dealerships in one of the industry's largest transactions; 7th 'Top 150' Dealership Group sale for Kerrigan Advisors

IRVINE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Kerrigan Advisors, a leading sell-side advisory firm to auto dealers in the U.S., represented and advised Los Angeles-based Keyes Automotive Group on its recent sale of nine dealerships to Lithia Motors, Inc. (NYSE: LAD).  Keyes Automotive Group is owned by Howard Keyes and Howard Tenenbaum. The sale encompassed some of the highest volume auto dealerships in the US, including Keyes European (Mercedes-Benz), ranked #2, Keyes Lexus, ranked #9, Keyes Audi, ranked #5, Keyes Hyundai, ranked #3, as well as an additional five high volume dealerships, Keyes Toyota, Lexus of Valencia, Audi Valencia, Mission Hills Hyundai all in the Los Angeles, California market and Bell Road Toyota, located in the Phoenix, Arizona market.

With this transaction, which is one of the largest in the industry's history, Kerrigan Advisors has now sold more than 100 dealerships since its founding in 2015, making the firm the most active sell-side advisor to the highest value transactions in auto retail. The sale of Keyes Automotive Group's nine dealerships is the seventh Top 150 Dealership Group Kerrigan Advisors has sold in the last five years.  

"We are honored to have represented Keyes, one of the most well-respected dealership groups in the country, in its sale to Lithia Motors" said Erin Kerrigan, Founder and Managing Director of Kerrigan Advisors. "Keyes has served the Los Angeles area for over 60 years as an award-winning auto retailer and sought-after employer. Howard Keyes and Howard Tenenbaum instructed our firm to identify a buyer with the scale and standards to continue Keyes' reputation for stellar customer service and a strong, supportive employee culture. In Lithia, we found the perfect buyer to carry on this legacy."

Keyes Automotive Group was founded by Howard Keyes' father, Jerry Keyes, in 1950 in Van Nuys, California and has since grown to become a top 20 dealership group in the US, according to Automotive News. Keyes is one of the most recognized brands in the Western region and known for its achievement as one of the highest revenue dealership groups in the country. Along with its outstanding customer service and community involvement, Keyes is perhaps best known to Los Angeles consumers for its catchy Beach Boys' jingle ("Keyes, Keyes, Keyes, Keyes on Van Nuys") that has, for over a decade, been played throughout Southern California's airwaves.

"I am deeply grateful for the decades of support we have received from the communities where we have been proud to do business, and for the employees who have dedicated their time and effort to achieving top customer service and exceptional retail success" said Howard Keyes. "We are confident that we are leaving our dealerships in the hands of a company that will not only continue our legacy of customer service, but will also extend that legacy's reach through digital innovation, and provide our employees with great opportunities for career advancement."

"When we made the decision to sell, it was critical to work with a firm who understood that preserving and enhancing our brand and legacy was as important to us as the terms of the deal. Kerrigan Advisors' track record of success selling the largest dealership groups in our industry, along with their deep expertise navigating and advising on complex, multi-dealership transactions, was truly invaluable to achieving our goals" continued Keyes.

Keyes Automotive Group's powerful brand recognition has been bolstered by the group's deep investment in community. Their support and donations to local schools and multiple non-profits, including Boys and Girls Clubs, Special Olympics, Bob Hope USO, LA Food Bank, Operation Gratitude, The Geffen Playhouse and many more, has earned them tremendous goodwill - and that extends to their corporate culture. Keyes employees participate in charitable events throughout the year, including toy drives and 'help the troops' campaigns.

"Great businesses help make other businesses in their communities successful, and Keyes has always been proud of helping fuel growth not just for our dealerships, but for the community as a whole" said Tenenbaum. "We are excited to pass the Keyes' torch onto Lithia Motors who will take these dealerships to the next level, further growing the business in a way that our communities will be proud of.  We are deeply grateful to Kerrigan Advisors' for the success of this transaction. Their vast relationships in the buyer community were invaluable in identifying the right buyer, while their expertise in closing large transactions proved indispensable. They were with us very step of the way."

The transaction includes Keyes Toyota, Keyes European (Mercedes-Benz and Sprinter), Keyes Lexus, Keyes Audi, and Keyes Hyundai in Van Nuys, CA, Mission Hills Hyundai in Mission Hills, CA, Lexus of Valencia and Audi Valencia in Valencia, CA, and Bell Road Toyota in Phoenix, AZ. Keyes is retaining Keyes Honda, Keyes Chevrolet, Woodland Hills Honda, Woodland Hills Porsche in the Los Angeles, California market and Centennial Toyota in the Las Vegas, Nevada market.

Larry Braun and Peter Park of Sheppard Mullin served as legal counsel to Keyes. Stephen Dietrich and Sarah Seedig of Holland  & Knight served as legal counsel to Lithia.

Kerrigan Advisors is the most active sell-side advisor on larger transactions in the auto retail industry with the most sale proceeds per transaction of any firm over the last five years.  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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