Baxter Auto Group of Omaha, Neb., spearheaded a multistore deal that ultimately moved its four Stellantis outlets to new ownership with three dealership groups.
In the first transaction, on Monday, Baxter sold Baxter Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram Bellevue, Baxter Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram-Fiat Omaha, Baxter Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram Papillion in Omaha and Baxter Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram-Fiat Lincoln, to Edwards Auto Group of Council Bluffs, Iowa, Courtney Goldenberg, Baxter’s vice president of marketing, confirmed to Automotive News. All of the stores are in Nebraska.
But Edwards Auto only kept two of the four dealerships. Just after acquiring the stores, Edwards Auto simultaneously sold single stores to H&H Automotive and Sid Dillon Auto Group.
Edwards Auto kept the Bellevue store and the Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram-Fiat dealership in Omaha, according to co-owner Todd Edwards. Those dealerships were renamed Edwards Bellevue Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram and Edwards Village Pointe Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram-Fiat, Edwards said.
Edwards Auto this week sold the Baxter Papillion store to H&H Automotive of Omaha and sold the store in Lincoln to Sid Dillon Auto of Fremont and Lincoln, Neb.
Mickey Anderson, CEO of Baxter Automotive, said in a statement that the company has been focused on recent expansions.
“With strong demand for established, profitable dealerships, our team determined that this was an appropriate time to divest of these stores,” Anderson said. “This transaction is consistent with our long-term plan for geographic diversity.
“While we are sad to separate with our colleagues at our Stellantis stores, we are pleased to know that they will be a part of a well-established local organization that is very familiar with the Stellantis brands.”
Baxter Auto in March purchased Larry H. Miller Toyota Colorado Springs in Colorado from Asbury Automotive Group Inc. Baxter Auto now operates 19 dealerships in Nebraska, Colorado and Kansas.
Baxter Auto ranks No. 40 on Automotive News‘ list of the top 150 dealership groups based in the U.S., retailing 22,567 new vehicles in 2021.
Edwards said the four groups worked together to create the deal and get it across the finish line. Everyone involved knew one another and had even forged friendships in some instances — outside of their friendly competition during business hours, of course, Edwards said.
Edwards said he and his brother Brett Edwards and their families know Jeff Hinchcliff of H&H and Blake Dillon of Sid Dillon socially. Those relationships helped when ironing out the deal, Edwards said.
“I think being able to work with friends that you know, and companies you know, to grow business opportunities by setting aside egos, is beneficial, especially when competing with the publicly traded companies,” Edwards told Automotive News.
Edwards acknowledged the unusual circumstances of the deal and credited Ally Bank for helping with the transactions, which ultimately finished closing Wednesday.
“It was a complicated transaction,” Ryan Kerrigan, managing director of Kerrigan Advisors, a sell-side firm in Incline Village, Nev., and which represented Baxter Auto in the deal, told Automotive News. “So it did take longer than normal to close.”
The dealerships staying with Edwards will keep the same staffing and undergo some remodeling. Dave Edwards, Todd’s father, founded the company. Brett and Todd Edwards now help their father run it as co-owners. Edwards Auto has new-car dealerships in Nebraska and Iowa.
Steve Hinchcliff, who co-owns H&H Automotive with his son, Jeff, said their acquired store will be renamed H&H Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram. Steve Hinchcliff told Automotive News that they intend to retain a majority of the “awesome staff” and don’t have any major renovations planned because the building is new. He said the acquisition makes four new-car dealerships for the company, all in Omaha.
Sid Dillon Auto renamed its store Sid Dillon Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram-Fiat, company partner Blake Dillon confirmed. The company has dealerships in several Nebraska cities.