Talks, brokered by REP, have been ongoing for the past six months.
In a double deal, both completed on March 2, Meridian Motor Group bought Vantage’s three Toyota dealerships. Vantage owner Mark Bowie will now retire.
The four Vauxhall car/LCV dealerships – Burnley, Bury, Clitheroe, Colne – will be rebranded as Perrys later this month. The group now has 14 Vauxhall dealerships in its network of 39.
Meridian will retain the Vantage trading name for the three Toyota sites – Blackburn, Colne, Preston – and will also rebrand its existing three Toyota centres in Yorkshire as Vantage.
Ray Sommerville, Perrys managing director, says: “This business is a very good fit for us geographically and it also means that our north-west business, which is run by Chris Stevenson, is now similar in size to our Yorkshire business.
“The sites are all profitable and we will ‘Perryize’ them with our branding, marketing and ethos. But there will not be any big changes.”
The four Vauxhall sites, with 125 employees, will add around £60m to Perrys’ turnover, taking it close to £500m. The group is looking for more acquisitions and says it is in negotiations with a couple of companies at the moment.
“We are in discussions with some franchise partners we don’t have, laying the foundation for relationship building to set the ball rolling.
“We’d like to balance our volume franchises with some specialized franchises,” says Sommerville. “But we are not driven by volume growth; we are very selective.”
Meridian, founded in 2003 by Mark Robinson, also has ambitions to grow in the north of England. “This acquisition doubles the size of our company in terms of turnover, representation points and customer base.
“It forms a key plant in our ambition to grow further, although we want to do this in a carefully-planned and phased way.”