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Bedfordia Group sells Elms dealerships to US buyer

The deal, which also includes Elms’ dealerships in Camridge and Stansted, took effect from yesterday (Monday). The dealerships will continue to operate as Elms Bedford BMW/MINI, Elms Cambridge BMW/MINI and Elms Stansted BMW/MINI.

Group 1 Automotive, is the third largest dealer group in the USAwith interests in Brazil and the UK. The company has 14 dealerships in the UK, predominantly in the South East of England including five BMW and MINI franchises as part of the Chandlers Group and Barons Group. It also owns the Essex Audi Group and the think Ford Group.

Bedfordia Group chairman John Ibbett said: “The sale of the automotive business to Group 1 is a very positive step, bringing with it huge opportunities for growth and long term stability for the business and its employees by being part of a much larger group.

“I feel very encouraged that Group 1 has a complimentary culture fit and ambitions for growth in line with Bedfordia’s.  From small beginnings, we have achieved a great deal.”

Its UK portfolio represents 10% of Group 1’s revenue and takes its presence in the UK to 17 dealerships.

President and chief executive officer Earl J. Hesterberg said:  “This acquisition strengthens our UK portfolio  and positions our U.K. segment for approximately $1.3 billion in estimated annual revenues. In addition, we are pleased to build our global relationship with BMW by expanding our partnership with BMW UK”

The sale was managed with the help of advisers Grant Thornton, law firm Dentons and property specialist Knight Frank.

Tom Poynton, head of automotive consultancy at Knight Frank, said: “The market is in a good place – as this deal demonstrates, profitable, premium brand businesses are very much in demand.” 

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