Keyes Automotive Group has sold off nine of its dealerships to Lithia Motors Inc., a Medford, Ore.-based publicly traded auto dealer.
Terms of the deal between Keyes, in Van Nuys, and Lithia were not disclosed.
Included in the transaction are Keyes Toyota, Keyes European (Mercedes-Benz), Keyes Lexus, Keyes Audi and Keyes Hyundai, all in Van Nuys, as well as Lexus of Valencia, Audi Valencia, Mission Hills Hyundai and Bell Road Toyota, located in Phoenix. The dealerships will not change names.
Erin Kerrigan, founder and managing director of Kerrigan Advisors, who represented and advised Keyes owners Howard Keyes and Howard Tenenbaum in the sale, said the deal came about quickly.
Part of what attracted Lithia to the San Fernando Valley dealerships was Keyes’ reputation not only as a top employer but as a business that gives back to the community, Kerrigan said in an interview with the Business Journal.
“They have done so much for the Valley and the number of philanthropies they are involved in,” she added. “That is a testament to Howard Keyes and Howard Tenenbaum and who they are not only as business leaders but also as people who care a great deal about their employees and their customers.”
Keyes said he was grateful for the decades of support the dealer has received from the communities where it has done business.
“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,” Keyes said in a statement.
Keyes will keep Keyes Honda, Keyes Chevrolet, Woodland Hills Honda, Woodland Hills Porsche, all in the Valley, and Centennial Toyota in Las Vegas.
The move rounds out Lithia’s presence in Southern California, the largest car market in the country, while also entering Phoenix, Lithia's sixth top ten market in the United States, the company said in a release.
Lithia Chief Executive Bryan DeBoer said that the acquisition will add about 800 employees and expands the company’s reach.
“Growing our network with new vehicle locations increases our competitive advantage to procure used vehicle inventory and provides the ability to complete in-home and in-network solutions to our customers throughout their entire vehicle ownership lifecycle," DeBoer said in a statement.
In the greater Valley region, Lithia also owns Audi Calabasas and DCH Subaru and DCH Ford, both in Thousand Oaks.