Presidio founder to head automotive practice

Brodie Cobb, 52, will now return to the automotive retailing world he focused on when he formed Presidio in 1997.

UPDATED: 3/18/14 3:18 pm ET - adds detail

Presidio, a key player in the buying and selling of U.S. auto dealerships, last week named a new head of its automotive investment banking practice after the recent departure of the practice’s former leaders.

Presidio Group founder Brodie Cobb, 52, replaces Alan Haig and Erin Kerrigan, who left Presidio to form their own firms.

Haig founded his own dealership advisory firm, Haig Partners, with fellow Presidio alumnus Nate Klebacha. Haig and Klebacha, who say they’ve overseen 150-plus transactions valued at nearly $3 billion during careers at AutoNation, Asbury Automotive Group and Presidio, will advise dealership buyers and sellers with an emphasis on higher value transactions.

Kerrigan formed Kerrigan Advisors, which will focus on advising dealership sellers, not buyers.

Back in the biz

Cobb will now return to the automotive retailing world he focused on when he formed Presidio in 1997. Prior to founding Presidio, Cobb worked at investment bank Montgomery Securities, which helped dealership groups Sonic Automotive Inc. and Group 1 Automotive go public.

Presidio largely represents dealers looking to sell their businesses. Cobb, who is also Presidio’s executive chairman, said he expects that the industry’s dealership buy/sell activity in 2014 will surpass last year.

“We find ourselves today with a really robust pipeline,” Cobb said. “For professionals like us in the investment banking world, it’s sort of Nirvana because it’s a seller’s market and you have sophisticated and willing buyers. That’s a very good market dynamic.”

More transactions

Cobb projected that Presidio will handle more transactions this year than last year and that the transactions will represent a higher dollar value than in 2013. Since the firm was founded, Presidio has completed 50-plus dealership transactions valued at more than $2.5 billion. The firm generally works on higher-value deals, Cobb said.

In 2013, Presidio completed three transactions valued at $234 million, the company said. It closed another deal in January when it advised the Heller family on the sale of Heller Ford and Heller Hyundai in Escondido, Calif., to Group 1.

Presidio has two full-time people dedicated to automotive, and the firm will add people to the practice this year, Cobb said.

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