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Sytner makes move on William Jacks

Leicester-based Sytner Group this week acquired a majority stake in Wiliam Jacks plc from Malaysian parent Johan Holdings Berhad.

Sytner, owned by the US giant UnitedAuto Group, bought 69.4% of William Jacks, paying 91p for 7,660,110 ordinary shares. This equates to £6.97m.

Under Stock Exchange rules, Sytner must now make a mandatory offer for the remainder of William Jack’s share capital at not less than 91p per share. Investors welcomed the news, with shares rising 24p to 87.5p on the day of the announcement.

William Jacks, ranked 45 in the AM100, has turnover of £185m and represents eight carmakers on 17 sites. In its interim results posted in July, the group reported a debt of around £900,000, tangible fixed assets of £8m and net assets of £6m.

Sytner is ranked fourth in the AM100 with a turnover of £1.6bn. It has 88 sites, plus two Mercedes-Benz van dealerships and represents 18 carmakers. Combned turnover would exceed £1.8bn.

Tim Richmond, auto analyst at Arden Partners, tells AM: “Assuming a total consideration of around £10m, then on the face of it, it seems like a fairly good deal. However the real question will be if there are any interesting property situations as a result of the takeover.”

With showrooms including Jaguar and Land Rover at Ascot and Gatwick, Rolls-Royce and BMW at Sunningdale, Surrey, and Volvo in Brighton and Croydon, Sytner has acquired some prime locations and property.

A full takeover would also raise Sytner’s Jaguar representation in London with William Jacks’ Watford franchise.

Piers Trenear-Thomas, retail motor industry consultant at Grant Thornton, says: “It’s no real surprise. William Jacks has not been having a very happy time of late, and didn’t really have anywhere to go.

“It highlights the position of this kind of group – once they lose momentum, it’s extremely difficult to regain it.”

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