“flagship deal” and third major M&A in 12 months for dedicated automotive team
Howes Percival’s dedicated automotive sector team represented leading motor dealership groups – Steven Eagell, Listers and FRF – on their purchase of Motorline Limited’s entire network of 19 Toyota and Lexus dealerships.
Howes Percival was the lead law firm for the buyer, in a highly complex deal involving multiple businesses and geographical locations, including the acquisition of five freehold sites and leases or underleases of the remainder.
The firm’s expertise in the automotive retail sector and depth of resource were key to the success of the transaction. Led by Corporate partners Andy Harris (also head of the firm’s Automotive Sector Group) and Tom Redman and Commercial Property partner Marcus Carter, the firm mobilised multi-disciplinary teams across several offices to manage the complex investigation inherent in a 19-business acquisition.
Andy Harris and Tom Redman advised the clients on the business and asset purchase aspects of the transaction. Marcus Carter advised on the myriad and complex property arrangements. Simon DeMaid led the team advising on the Employment law issues, Chris White headed the team advising on Commercial law matters, Faye Meredith led the Banking team, Rob Starr led the Regulatory team and the GDPR team was headed by Stephen Ruse.
Commenting on the 19-business acquisition, Tom Redman said,
“We were delighted to have acted for Steven Eagell, Listers and FRF on their Toyota/Lexus dealership acquisitions and we wish them every success as they integrate their new dealerships into their existing portfolios.”
Marcus Carter observed: “This has been a flagship deal for us and a unique instruction, with some interesting challenges involving multi-site and business transactions and three buyers who individually are stand-alone giants within the automotive retail sector.”
The deal is Howes Percival’s third major motor dealer M&A transaction completed in the last 12 months, following transactions for the Steven Eagell Group in July 2022 and Group 1 Automotive in September 2022.
Andy Harris continued,
“These are interesting times for motor dealers, as some manufacturers move towards an agency rather than conventional distributorship model. The move to electrification has fallen slightly behind target for some, as the UK’s charging network struggles to cope with the increasing number of EVs on the road. Motor dealers also face increased competition from online car supermarkets. Howes Percival is in the thick of these changes and we are ready to support our clients not only on their M&A aspirations but also with day-to-day, business-as-usual matters.”
For more information on Howes Percival’s services to the automotive sector, visit the website here