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Lithia Motors directors appointed to Jardine board as £300m takeover confirmed

  • Takeover deal confirmed between Jardine Motors and Lithia
  • US giant pays between £300m and £400m for British supercar dealer
  • Several Lithia directors have been appointed to Jardine’s board
  • Boss expects takeover to ‘deliver significant value for employees, partners, and customers’

Time 8:09 am, March 16, 2023

Several directors from US giant Lithia have been appointed to the board of Jardine Motors as a £300m takeover deal has been confirmed.

A agreement has been reached after months of talks with an official announcement coming this morning (March 16).

Sources close to the deal say that Lithia Motors has paid between £300m and £400m for the British supercar dealer.

In a statement posted on the Lithia website, CEO Bryan DeBoer said that Jardine would add ‘significant value’ to the outfit.

‘The acquisition of Jardine Motors Group represents a significant new chapter in Lithia’s progress and strategic direction,’ he said.

‘Jardine’s complementary leadership team, business model, sound financial performance and excellent OEM relationships make this group the ideal partner for our expansion into the United Kingdom.

‘As part of our broader growth plan, we firmly believe the combination of our two businesses will deliver significant value for employees, partners, and customers alike.’

Neil Williamson, chief executive of Jardine Motors Group, added: ‘With Jardine Matheson’s considerable support, we have successfully implemented our premium strategy and built a strong position in the UK motor sector, underpinned by high quality relationships with our brand partners.

‘We are delighted to have found in Lithia a partner committed to further growth and development of our team and our network.

‘Their support and expertise will enable us to capture the considerable growth opportunities we see ahead. I am confident we will thrive under this new partnership and look forward to working closely together as we realize our growth ambitions in the UK.’

Ahead of the confirmation of the deal, a number of personnel changes at Jardine were lodged with Companies House.

Directors Anthony Hawkins and Adam Kenswick both now left their positions with the dealer group.

Coming in were Tina Miller, chief financial officer of Lithia Motors and Edward Impert, who is the US outfit’s vice president and general counsel.

The pair have been joined on the Jardine board by Lithia’s chief operating officer, Chris Holzshu.

The deal gives the American outfit a major foothold in the UK’s lucrative automotive retail industry.

Jardine currently has 50 showrooms in this country and was part of the Jardine Matheson Holdings conglomerate, based in Hong Kong.

It represents some of the biggest brands in motoring including Aston Martin, Ferrari, Maserati, McLaren and Porsche.

Lithia Motors is floated on the New York Stock Exchange and is valued at more than $6bn. It is the US’s second largest automotive retailer, boasting more than 250 locations.

The firm previously tried to buy Pendragon last summer but was blocked by the Hedin Group.

At last week’s Car Dealer Live conference, Cambria Automobiles boss Mark Lavery said there will be no publicly listed dealer groups in the UK by the end of the year.

Speaking ahead of the deal, David Kendrick, partner at UHY Hacker Young, told Car Dealer: ‘This would be an incredible move from Lithia.

‘They have made no secret of their desire to move to the UK and I’d argue that Jardine hold one of the most attractive portfolios in the UK.

‘Purchasing this from Jardine would be a shrewd move but I don’t believe it would come cheap, and there will be some serious OEM approvals needed.

‘A new player to the market certainly would be welcome. As ever, interesting times with plenty going on.’

Jack Williams's avatar

Jack joined the Car Dealer team in 2021 as a staff writer. He previously worked as a national newspaper journalist for BNPS Press Agency. He has provided news and motoring stories for a number of national publications including The Sun, The Times and The Daily Mirror.

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