Kerrigan Advisors Represents Sunrise Auto Group in Sale of Two Memphis Dealerships to Lithia Motors

Written by:
Melanie Webber
mWEBB Communications
June 11, 2024

MEMPHIS, TN – June 11, 2024 – Kerrigan Advisors, the premier sell-side advisor and thought partner to auto dealers nationwide, represented Memphis, Tennessee-based Sunrise Auto Group in the sale of Sunrise Wolfchase Buick GMC, the #1 Buick GMC dealership in Memphis, and Sunrise Buick GMC Collierville to Medford, Oregon-based Lithia Motors (NYSE:LAD). The completion of this transaction represents Kerrigan Advisors’ 273rd dealership transaction, including more than 80 in the Southern region since 2020, and more than 65franchises sold year-to-date.

Owner Bob Berkheimer started Sunrise Auto Group 35 years ago in Memphis, the third largest metro area in the Southeast and home to a flourishing trade and transportation sector. Sunrise is the largest Buick GMC dealer in Memphis, capturing over 75% of Memphis’ Buick GMC sales. Wolfchase is the #4 Buick GMC dealership in Tennessee, and Buick GMC Collierville is the #4Buick GMC dealership in Memphis and #7 in Tennessee. Sunrise is a decorated General Motors dealer, having earned several Mark of Excellence and Dealer of the Year awards. In addition, Buick GMC and Chevrolet are top performing domestic brands, ranking high in sales growth in 2023 and in the Kerrigan Advisors 2023 Dealer Survey for franchise valuation growth expectations in 2024.

“Kerrigan Advisors was extremely honored to represent Bob’s legacy in Memphis through the strategic sale of these high performing General Motors franchises to Lithia Motors, a new market for the company,” said Gabe Robleto, Senior Vice President, Sell-Side Advisory at Kerrigan Advisors. “It was a pleasure to work with him on this sale and identify the perfect buyer in Lithia for these powerhouse dealerships in the very attractive Tennessee market.”

“First and foremost, I want to thank our employees and the Memphis community for their steadfast support and loyalty over the past few decades,” said Bob Berkheimer, President of Sunrise Auto Group. “As I contemplated this sale, it was critical to find the right buyer to continue our legacy here. I am confident that the dealerships, including my employees, will continue to see great success under Lithia’s ownership.”

Bob continued: “We knew that the buy/sell process would be complicated, and we wanted to get it right, so we hired the firm that was recommended as the best in the business – Kerrigan Advisors. And they more than lived up to their reputation, guiding us with care, expertise and acumen every step of the way, completing the transaction.” 

Tennessee ranked #3 in America’s Top States for Business by CNBC, and Tennessee’s status as a business-friendly, right-to-work state, coupled with its absence of state income taxes, has driven substantial population growth. These attributes continue to drive strong buyer demand as described in Kerrigan’s 2023 Annual Blue Sky Report, which reports buyer demand for dealerships in the Southern states to be very high, particularly those markets with the highest population growth, strong franchise laws and business-friendly climates.

“The Southeast and, in this case, Tennessee, remains the go-to market for auto retailers, and we see most of the larger players in automotive retail seeking to expand their footprint in the South” said Ryan Kerrigan, Managing Director of Kerrigan Advisors. “Given current data trends, we expect this to be the case for the foreseeable future, and we were proud to support Bob on this very successful transaction.”

Stephen Dietrich and Brooke Sizer of Holland & Knight served as legal counsel to the seller.

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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