Today is the date that the deal between America’s Lithia and Driveway and AM100 dealer group Pendragon is expected to be completed. leaving Lithia in charge of nearly 200 franchised dealerships in the UK.
The acquisition will enable Pendragon PLC to continue, under the new guise of Pinewood Technologies – its existing automotive software arm – while Lithia takes ownership of all its motor businesses, which range from Stratstone and Evans Halshaw franchised dealerships to Evans Halshaw Carstore used car supermarkets.
Lithia already has just over 50 franchised outlets in the UK in its Jardine Motors business, which it acquired in 2022, and at jthe most recent AM100 count Pendragon had 137 franchised outlets plus almost a dozen Carstore car supermarkets.
In terms of combined turnover, Lithia’s UK business is expected to be confirmed in the next AM100 research as the UK’s second largest motor retailer, behind Sytner but overtaking Arnold Clark.
Pinewood Technologies will enter a strategic partnership with a wholly owned subsidiary of Lithia Motors, to give a foothold for the Pinewood dealer management system in North America.
Following completion of the transaction, Pendragon confirms its intention to return a cash amount equivalent to approximately 24.5 pence per ordinary share to shareholders by way of a special dividend which is now expected to be paid in Q1/Q2 2024.
The PLC’s chief executive Bill Berman and the board of Pinewood Technologies will be joined by two Lithia executives: Chris Holzshu, chief operating officer, and George Hines, chief technology officer, in non-executive director roles.
Mark Willis will step down as director and chief financial officer of the Pinewood Technologies and his successor will be Oliver Mann.
Lithia became embroiled in a bidding war for Pendragon last autumn, as its initial offer attracted counter-offers from overseas rivals Hedin and Penske, and ultimately Lithia increased its acquisition offer for Pendragon by 42%, another £117 million, taking the amount being offered for all its Stratstone, Evans Halshaw, Carstore and PVM motor businesses up to £397 million.