Kerrigan Advisors Represents MCE Automotive Group in Sale of Seven South Carolina Dealerships to Anderson Automotive Group

Written by:
Melanie Webber
mWEBB Communications
August 23, 2023

Sale of seven dealerships underscores strong buyer demand for growth markets like South Carolina, one of the top 10 markets requested in Kerrigan Advisors' proprietary Buyer Database

GREENEVILLE, S.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Kerrigan Advisors, the premier sell-side advisor and thought partner to auto dealers nationwide, represented Greenville, South Carolina-based MCE Automotive Group, owned and operated by the Escude family, in the sale of their seven dealerships to North Carolina-based Anderson Automotive Group, ranked 71st—largest US dealership group in the US by 2022 new unit sales. The transaction includes Toyota of Greer, Kia of Greenville, Kia of Greer, Hyundai of Greer, Genesis of Greer, Nissan of Greer and Mike Hovart Chevrolet and represents nearly $500 million in revenue. This marks the 200th—dealership sale led by Kerrigan Advisors since 2015 and the 22nd—Toyota dealership sold, making Kerrigan Advisors the most active sell-side advisor to Toyota dealers in the US. With the sale of MCE Automotive Group, Kerrigan Advisors has completed transactions representing over $4 billion in client proceeds since 2020.

"It was a true honor to represent the Escude family in the sale of their highly valuable, premier dealerships in the thriving Greenville, South Carolina market. The MCE transaction is indicative of the tremendous demand for dealerships located in South Carolina, one of the top 10 markets requested by buyers" said Erin Kerrigan, Founder and Managing Director of Kerrigan Advisors. "The Escude family's dealerships, anchored by the best import franchises - Toyota, Kia, and Hyundai - represent some of the highest volume franchises in the Greenville market and are housed in state-of-the-art facilities. We are so pleased to see these sought-after dealerships transfer to another multi-generation Carolina family, ensuring the Escude's legacy of top customer service and community engagement lives on in Greenville."

Greenville serves as the economic anchor of Upstate South Carolina, with over 60% of the Upstate population residing in an area that touts a low cost of living and a high quality of life (#2 Best Place to Live in the state and #15 Lowest Cost Place to Live in the US). It is one of the three largest metro areas in South Carolina and has the fastest growing population (67% rise in population since 2000). MCE Automotive Group captures 14% market share of Greenville's new units sold, with a 45% share in Greer, a thriving Greenville suburb. The sale includes seven recently built or renovated dealerships, and over 39 acres of property. The dealerships operate in three Greenville markets: Greer (Toyota, Hyundai, Kia, Nissan, and Genesis), Greenville (Kia), and Easley (Chevrolet). MCE Automotive is also the exclusive Kia dealer for the Greenville MSA.

"Toyota, Kia and Hyundai are some of the industry's strongest import brands, with the highest valuation growth expectations according to our recent Dealer Survey" continued Erin Kerrigan. "Not surprisingly, there was tremendous buyer demand for the MCE Automotive Group, given the group's tremendous financial performance and the fact that MCE is anchored by top import franchises." Kerrigan noted that since 2019, the valuation expectations for Kia and Hyundai have shifted upward over 26 percentage points, while Toyota, the most valuable non-luxury import franchise, continues to outperform most franchises in valuation growth expectations."

As a family, we're forever grateful to our employees and the community of Greenville for choosing our dealerships. For us it's always been about taking care of our customers and employees, as well as being good stewards of our resources on behalf of the community" said Mark Escude, Sr., President of MCE Automotive Group. "Whether through our lasting commitment to the March of Dimes, or our investment in local charities, we care about the people of Greenville. This is why our choice of Kerrigan Advisors to manage our sale process and achieve our goals in a transaction was so important to me and my family. Only Kerrigan has the deep knowledge and expertise to identify the right buyers for the largest groups in the industry along with the proven track record to ensure the sale goes smoothly and is run professionally."

"In choosing Kerrigan Advisors, we knew we were in good hands" continued Escude. "The Kerrigan team, particularly Mercedes Hendricks and Marie Brashears, went above and beyond when managing the sale process, from accurately reflecting our historical earnings to overseeing the buyer's due diligence process and the closing. Erin Kerrigan's personal relationships with top OEM executives also ensured our sale process ran on schedule, even with seven required OEM approvals. We are very grateful for the thoughtful advice and hard work of the entire Kerrigan team to ensure our sale was a tremendous success."

"We were proud to advise the Escude family with this complex transaction" said Ryan Kerrigan, Managing Director of Kerrigan Advisors. "Greenville, South Carolina is a dynamic market with an increasing population, driven by a high quality of life and low cost of living, making MCE highly desirable. Our data, and the trends we are seeing, demonstrate the Carolinas are one of the top areas for growing dealership groups, resulting in price premiums. This transaction proved out that trend."

Kerrigan Advisors has facilitated 28 multi-dealership transactions since 2020, making the firm the most active sell-side advisor on larger, more complex transactions in the auto retail industry. The firm attributes its success to the team's laser focus on fulfilling each client's personal and professional goals, as well as their commitment to managing every step of the transaction through closing. 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 acquisition valuation analysis, creating value for clients at every stage of the auto retail lifecycle.

For MCE Automotive Group, Sai Ireland and Barry Cannada of Butler Snow LLP served as legal counsel and John Bishop Jr. of Bishop and Draper, CPAs was MCE's accountant. For the buyer, Jeff Roberts of Underwood  & Roberts, PLLC served as legal counsel and Travis Horton of Henderson Hutcherson  & McCullough, PLLC was Anderson's accountant.

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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