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Bristol Street bought by Vertu

Vertu Motors (Property) Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Vertu Motors plc, has acquired Bristol Street Group Limited for an estimated at £31m in cash plus up to £9m in shares.

The deal is expected to be completed on March 27.

Bristol Street Group was the 13th largest motor dealer group in the UK in 2005 (AM100: 2006), selling new and used cars, commercial vehicles and aftersales. It runs 32 franchised sites and three used car hypermarkets representing Ford, Vauxhall, Citroen, Hyundai, Iveco, Peugeot and Renault.

For the year ended December 31, 2006 Bristol Street Group made an operating profit of £5.1 million on a turnover of £576.7 million.

Paul Williams (CEO of Bristol Street Group) will become a director and non-executive chairman of Vertu. William Teasdale will step down as chairman but will remain on the board as a non-executive director.

In a statement this morning Vertu said it believes the acquisition represents a significant step in Vertu’s strategy of acquiring and consolidating UK motor retail businesses.

Vertu intends to pursue a strategy of organic growth of Bristol Street Group, identifying and capitalising upon performance improvement opportunities. Opportunities include increasing used car sales, development of fleet and contract hire businesses, further development of the Bristol Street Group internet retail presence and centralisation of procurement and marketing.

Robert Forrester, chief executive of Vertu Motors plc, said: “This is an excellent platform acquisition for Vertu which we have delivered to our shareholders within three months of IPO. Bristol Street is a great business and brand in the UK marketplace with strong manufacturer relationships and an excellent management team. It provides an ideal opportunity for growth both organically and through acquisition as we look to build Vertu within the UK motor retail marketplace.

“We are also delighted that Paul Williams will be joining the board as our non-executive chairman. He brings a wealth of experience in the motor industry and is a highly respected figure in the sector.”

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