Vantage in £13m deal for three dealerships

Mark Robinson founded Meridian, which trades as Vantage, in 2003. (S)
Mark Robinson founded Meridian, which trades as Vantage, in 2003. (S)

A Knaresborough-based 
motor retailer has expanded its portfolio of dealerships to 25 across the North and Midlands with the acquisition of three more in a deal worth nearly £13m.

Vantage bought the outlets – Toyota and Lexus dealerships in Leeds and a Toyota one in Wakefield – from Lookers plc, which had recently acquitred them as part of its £87.5m takeover of Benfield in September.

The new sites take the total number of Vantage Toyota dealerships to 12, making it one of the largest Toyota groups in the UK.

The deal will also see Vantage Group staff numbers rise from 500 to 600 and annual turnover pass the £200m mark.

Vantage paid £12.68m for the three dealerships and will invest a further £1m in up-grading the sites.

Mark Robinson, the founder and managing director of Vantage Motor Group, said: “This is not about doing deals for the sake of doing deals but because they make a perfect fit – strategically, geographically and culturally.

“Vantage and Benfield share a philosophy of putting employees and customers at the very heart of business and matching both with great products.”

Mr Robinson, who is also chairman of the Toyota Dealer Council in the UK, added: “These latest acquisitions cement our relationship with Toyota and reinforce our ambition of being a regionally-based national force in the industry, recognised not just for the excellent range of vehicles we sell but for the outstanding level of customer service we deliver and the career opportunities we provide for our staff.”

Vantage now represents eight manufacturers: Toyota, Lexus, Kia, Škoda, Citroën, Mazda, Honda and Hyundai.

Vantage is the trading name of the Meridian Motor Group, where Lookers plc chairman Phil White is a 30 per cent shareholder. The deal for the three sites is a related-party transaction on Stock Exchange Listing Rules.

Vantage was advised on the deals by Walker Morris, Colliers CRE and Grant Thornton with funding provided by Toyota Financial Services.