AM Online

Blue Bell bought by Halliwell Jones and Knights Group

Halliwell Jones group has acquired Blue Bell Wilmslow BMW and Mini and Blue Bell Bodyshop for an undisclosed sum. In a separate deal, Knights Group has bought the remainder of the company, Blue Bell Crewe.

The acquisitions were funded by BMW Financial Services UK.

The Halliwell acquisition comes as it secures a new refinancing package of £12.6 million with the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).

Following this acquisition, the two companies' names were changed to Halliwell Jones (Wilmslow) and Halliwell Jones (Wilmslow) Bodyshop to match the group’s existing trading style.

Halliwell Jones already operates BMW/Mini dealerships in Southport, Chester, Warrington and Llandudno, which have a turnover in excess of £250 million.

The acquisitions push Halliwell’s group turnover to over £300m and staff numbers to 550, which would break the group into the top 30 of the AM100. Blue Bell Group had a turnover of £108.3 million in 2012*.

The BMW/Mini franchises previously operated by Blue Bell Wilmslow were seen as an ideal addition to the group’s portfolio.

The group had recently spent close to £10 million in developing a £5.5m million aftersales operation in Chester, built a new Mini dealership in Southport and doubled the size of its Mini site at Warrington. The group is also currently undertaking corporate identity programme at each of its BMW dealerships.

With the changes that have recently taken place at Halliwell Jones, directors felt it was the right time to undertake a re-financing arrangement and developed a new relationship with RBS. The Blue Bell businesses are part of a newly created company within the Halliwell Jones business called Roundel Ltd. 

Knights Group said it had no plans to change the name of its acquired business due to the respect the Blue Bell brand has in Cheshire.

Knights is a privately owned car dealer group holding the BMW franchise with dealerships in Stafford and Stoke-on-Trent.

Sue Brownson, managing director of Blue Bell died in May last year and her death was closely followed by her husband and Blue Bell chairman and founder Chris Brownson in November the same year.

*Current AM100 countdown.



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