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LMP Automotive closes on first franchised dealerships

The company, which went public in December 2019, has aspirations to roll up dozens of dealerships

LMP Automotive Holdings Inc., the used-car and vehicle subscription company that has aspirations to roll up dozens of dealerships, has closed on its first five franchised stores — two Kia stores in Florida and three dealerships in West Virginia.

The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., company, which went public in December 2019, said late Friday that it bought Kia stores in Port Charlotte and Cape Coral from Fuccillo Automotive Group. The two stores sit on a combined nearly 58 acres and provide room for reconditioning and vehicle storage.

It also completed purchases of West Virginia stores Beckley Buick-GMC Automall in Beckley, King Coal Chevrolet in Oak Hill and Hometown Kia in Mount Hope, plus three used-vehicle dealerships. LMP bought an 85 percent stake in the West Virginia stores. Ernie Davis and Lori Davis were the owners of the two General Motors stores.

The closings, part of the company's first stage of acquisitions, comes after two other planned acquisitions were terminated.

"This is a transformative event for LMP as we are officially a part of the elite public franchise dealership group," LMP COO Richard Aldahan said in a statement.

LMP's stock closed down 9.7 percent at $16.15 on Monday in New York.

LMP joins a small list of six publicly traded franchised auto retailers. Asbury Automotive Group Inc. was the last to go public in 2002.

There are other publicly traded companies with franchised dealership holdings such as conglomerate Graham Holdings Co., which has three stores through a partnership with Chris Ourisman, president of Ourisman Automotive Group. And Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway public conglomerate includes Berkshire Hathaway Automotive Inc., which has 81 dealerships.

Aldahan said LMP's remaining acquisitions in its first stage will close on a rolling basis "in the coming weeks."

The company has hit some bumps over the past few months. The retailer was to buy a majority stake in a Toyota store in Newnan, Ga., and eight Atlantic Automotive Group dealerships in New York, which it had halved in size citing manufacturer "geographic concentration issues."

LMP, which did not immediately disclose purchase prices for the dealerships, previously said the Kia stores would cost $36 million, plus $33 million in real estate.

Ryan Kerrigan, managing director of Kerrigan Advisors, a sell-side firm in Irvine, Calif., represented Fuccillo in the transaction.

"Florida is a red hot market," Kerrigan said, adding his firm has represented sellers in the sale of eight Florida dealerships in the past year.

Tim Lamb Group brokered the transaction of the West Virginia stores.

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