Mickey Anderson is president and CEO of Baxter Auto Group, which owns and operates 19 dealerships representing 10 manufacturers, including Audi, Ford, Honda, Infiniti, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Sprinter, Subaru, Toyota, and Volkswagen in Nebraska, Kansas, and Colorado. The company employs more than 1,400 associates. Anderson is a leader in the Omaha community and the automotive industry, where he is the immediate past chair of the Greater Omaha Chamber, chair of the Lake Cunningham Development Trust, and a governor of the Aksarben Foundation. Anderson also is a director of McCarthy Capital Corp, an Omaha-based private-equity firm. In addition, Anderson serves on the Advisory Council for Student Athletes at his alma mater, the University of Notre Dame.
Interview with Baxter Auto Group
Mickey Anderson, President & CEO
What prompted you to sell your four Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram dealerships in Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska, in 2022?
Anderson: I believed the market was ideal for selling these franchises. We are focused on diversifying geographically and the sale of these stores in our home market will provide us capital to pursue opportunities in new markets.
As a family-run business, what was the most challenging part of the sale?
Anderson: These stores had been in our group for two generations. There was an emotional tie to the stores, the manufacturing partner and, of course, our employees. It was very important to work with a consultant who shared our sensitivities and worked to find us the best buyer.
What surprised you about the sale process?
Anderson: Even though I have been involved in several acquisitions, I was surprised by the amount of time it took to complete the sale of multiple stores. Keeping the project on schedule and keeping all parties working toward the closing date was a daily task. Kerrigan’s experience and engagement were essential to getting the deal closed.
What do you think will be the biggest challenges and opportunities for private, family-owned and-operated dealership groups over the next decade?
Anderson: Private, family-owned dealership groups are entrepreneurial and can adjust to changing market conditions more quickly and effectively than larger competitors. This is a tremendous advantage in today’s market. Private groups can deliver a unique partnership, which provides great value for the OEMs.
How are the risks of a near-term recession impacting how you manage your business and plan for future growth?
Anderson: Rising interest rates and the risk of a near-term recession cause me to use great discretion in pursuing new opportunities. Markets and manufacturers need to be evaluated based on their ability to perform in a much more challenging economy, rather than on their profits during the recent COVID-impacted years.
What do you think the auto retail business will look like in 10 years?
Anderson: All the direct-to-consumer modalities that became prominent during the pandemic are popular with consumers and will leave our sales models forever changed. Customers and OEMs will continue to prefer simplified, digital sales processes and transparent pricing models. Dealers will need to embrace these new strategies to remain relevant in the future.
Why did you choose Kerrigan Advisors?
Anderson: As a sell-side advisor, Kerrigan Advisors was singularly focused on helping me achieve my goal of finding the right buyer for my dealerships. They are very familiar with dealership groups across the country and developed an impressive list of qualified buyers. They were attentive to every detail and helped me successfully navigate several unforeseen complications. The entire team was expert, thoughtful and completely trustworthy.
Kerrigan Advisors is the nation’s premier sell-side advisor and thought partner for higher value dealerships and dealership groups. In addition to publishing The Blue Sky Report®, The Kerrigan Dealer Survey, and The Kerrigan Index ™, the firm leads the industry in the highest sale price per transaction of any firm. We attribute our firm’s success to our laser-focus on fulfilling each client’s personal and financial goals. In our view, dealerships are far too valuable to be advised any other way.
If you would like to learn more about the firm, please contact Erin Kerrigan or Ryan Kerrigan at (775) 993-3600 or visit KerriganAdvisors.com.
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