Larry H. Miller Dealerships expects to make more acquisitions this year as it sees dealership prices stabilize.
“We went through a bit of a dry period [last year], but it wasn’t by design,” Dean Fitzpatrick, president of Larry H. Miller Dealerships, told Automotive News. He said the retailer is “looking to grow and part of that will be through acquisitions.”
The Sandy, Utah, group did not make any dealership acquisitions last year mostly because the “opportunities” it was looking for never appeared, Fitzpatrick said. This year, there are more desired dealerships available at better pricing, he said.
“Pricing is still strong, but we’re starting to see it a bit more where it makes more sense for both parties,” Fitzpatrick said.
He said Larry H. Miller Dealerships is “actively working” on deals that will “come together” soon.
The company owns 59 dealerships, mostly in the Western U.S., with annual revenue of about $4.4 billion. The group ranks No. 10 on Automotive News’ list of the top 150 dealership groups based in the U.S., with retail sales of 62,476 new vehicles in 2015.
Fitzpatrick said the retailer will look to expand in its existing markets to capitalize on scale, such as Colorado, where the company has been since 1988, and Phoenix.
In June, it closed on a deal to add three more stores in Colorado — Creek Dodge in Denver, Chrysler-Jeep in Aurora and Fiat of Denver — for a total of 12 dealerships in the state.
Larry H. Miller Dealerships has 13 dealerships in Arizona, nine of which are in Phoenix.
Fitzpatrick said he is open to buying a group or individual stores. He would like to add more domestic brands to the group’s portfolio.
“We’ve got a lot of Chrysler, we’re growing with Nissan, but we love the domestic brands, and our portfolio is a little light there, so Ford and GM,” Fitzpatrick said.