Lithia enters U.K. with acquisition of Jardine Motors

Lithia Motors Inc., as part of its aggressive dealership acquisition strategy, has succeeded in its bid to enter the United Kingdom with the purchase of Jardine Motors Group, CEO Bryan DeBoer confirmed to Automotive News.
DeBoer said the deal, which closed Wednesday, was “more affordable than what we typically find … in the United States,” but he did not disclose a specific amount.

Britain’s Sky News, citing a source, on Wednesday reported the price to be around £300 million to £400 million ($361.6 million to $482.1 million).

While the acquisition is not adding brands to Lithia’s portfolio, it is adding depth to its current roster, DeBoer said. For instance, the deal gives Lithia its second and third Ferrari stores.

Jardine Motors has more than 40 new-vehicle franchise points in the United Kingdom, with a portfolio of luxury brands including Aston Martin, Porsche and BMW, DeBoer said.

Part of the conglomerate Jardine Matheson Holdings, Jardine is Europe’s 23rd-largest dealership group by annual revenue, according to Automotive News Europe’s 2022 Guide to Europe’s Biggest Dealers.

The deal will add $2 billion to Lithia’s annual revenue, DeBoer said. In 2022, the company’s revenue surged 24 percent to $28.23 billion.

“And more importantly, it gives us a foundation to grow more in the United Kingdom, which is helping us drive towards our $50 billion target for 2025,” DeBoer said during a Teams interview Wednesday evening.

DeBoer said the deal will bring about 2,700 employees to Lithia, and that Jardine CEO Neil Williamson will stay on.

“We’re really looking to him to lead the organization forward and hopefully be able to continue to grow the business and provide the United Kingdom customers. The special experience that Jordan has always provided,” DeBoer said.

Lithia becomes the third public retailer with stores in the U.K., joining Penske Automotive Group and Group 1. Shares in Lithia fell 4 percent on Wednesday to close at $211.51.

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