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Lookers adds BMW and Mini with £27.2m Knights Group acquisition

Lookers plc chief executive Andy Bruce

Lookers has acquired West Midlands-based BMW Mini retailer Knights North West Limited group for £27.2m in cash.

The AM100’s third largest retailer adds two new brands and six dealerships – in Stafford, Stoke-on-Trent and Crewe – to its 160-strong network with the deal which follows hot on the heels of its acquisition of seven-site Warwick Holdings, trading as Drayton Group, for £55.4m.

Both acquisitions come after Lookers liberated assets with a conditional agreement to sell its parts business to Automotive Alliance for £120 million earlier this month.

Lookers chief executive Andy Bruce said: “We are delighted to welcome the Knights team to the Group and are excited to be adding the iconic brands of BMW and Mini to our list of premium marques, offering our customers a wider choice of vehicles.

“This marks another significant addition to Lookers and demonstrates our focus and commitment on expanding the motor division following the sale of our parts business.

“We continue to see opportunity in the prestige car market as demand increases amongst the UK’s discerning motorists, and have no doubt that the BMW and MINI dealerships will continue to thrive as part of Lookers.

“We believe Knights fits with our key business priority of delivering an even better customer experience; this is a business which we have much admired for its financial and cultural success, and we are excited to work in partnership with the Knights team to deliver more of what our customers want.”

Mike Jones, ASE chairman, who advised on the acquisition, said: “This is a significant acquisition for Lookers, bringing their first BMW and Mini dealerships into the group.

“As a result of the purchase Lookers has filled a gap in its franchise portfolio and now represents all of the large premium marques.

“I am delighted to see a successful exit for David Vickers and Peter Brookes, who built a high performing dealer group in Knights and it was a pleasure to work with them on this disposal.”

Adam McGiveron, partner at Shakespeare Martineau and who advised Knights North West Limited on all legal aspects of the sale, said that Lookers' acquisition "reflects confidence in the marketplace", adding: "This demonstrates that transactions are still being done in the region and assets are available for the right deals." 

Last week Lookers announced H1 financial results which showed turnover up by 33% to £2.34bn.

Operating profit increased 20% to £59.1 million (2015: £49.2 million) and profit before tax increased 16% to £50.1 million (2015: £43.1 million) for the half-year ending June 30th.

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