Sytner Group added a trio of BMW and Mini dealerships with the acquisition of Stevenage-based Specialist Cars.

The move brings the AM100’s leading car retail group by turnover to 18 BMW and Mini franchise locations, with new sites added in Stevenage, Luton and Tring.

Founded in the 1970s, Specialist Cars has over 300 employees and has been owned by Clive Fletcher and Michael Donovan since an MBO in 1999.

Both Fletcher and Donovan will retire from the industry after the company is sold to Sytner.

Fletcher said: “We’ve had an incredible journey with BMW/Mini and our fantastic team. Transferring the business to a leading automotive group such as Sytner gives us every confidence that it will continue to grow and thrive, and we wish them all the best.

In its financial year to 31 December 2021, Specialist Cars recorded a 26.1% increase in turnover, to £112.1 million, alongside a 33.5% increase in profit before tax, at £1.99 million, according to accounts filed with Companies House.

Sytner Managing Director, Darren Edwards, said, “We are delighted to have completed the acquisition of these well-respected and long-standing businesses which operate from excellent facilities.

“As well as significantly strengthening the scale and depth of our relationship with the BMW and MINI brands, this purchase also allows us to expand the geographical footprint of the Sytner Group in this important market.

“I especially welcome approximately 300 new colleagues to the group whom I look forward to meeting and working with in the weeks to come.”

David Kendrick, head of automotive at UHY Hacker Young, advised Specialist Cars shareholders on the deal.

Specialist cars were also advised by Caroline Litchfield at Brabners, with Sytner advised by John Gallon at DLA Piper.

Kendrick said: “The Sytner Group is one of the nation’s most successful and largest car retailing businesses, representing over 20 of the most prestigious automotive manufacturers in the luxury and performance industry.

“This acquisition fits perfectly into their existing portfolio and once again demonstrates further consolidation in the sector. I’m sure it won’t be the last deal of this nature in 2022 from what we see.

Last week, AM reported on the findings of the Automotive Outlook 2022 report recently released by UHY.

The report concluded that major UK car retail groups and PLCs would be joined by international investors and disruptors such as Cazoo and Constellation Automotive in what is likely to be a banner year for mergers and acquisitions.

Recent high profile M&A activity has seen Pendragon attract interest from major shareholder Hedin Group, while UHY noted Marshall’s acquisition of Motorline and Constellation Automotive’s subsequent move into car retailing franchises through an offer to acquire PLC alongside a 19% stake in Lookers. large-scale offers.

Commenting on the potential for a further acceleration in M&A activity in 2022, UHY’s report said, “We expect the number of deals to reach the highest levels seen in the past decade.”


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