Automobile

Larry Van Tuyl back in dealership game

He expects to close on additional acquisitions this year, he said.

“I don’t know if that’ll be 10 deals or 50 deals,” Van Tuyl said. “We’ll just see what the opportunities are.”

After the March 2015 sale of Van Tuyl Group of Phoenix, then the largest privately held dealership group in the U.S., to Berkshire Hathaway, Van Tuyl said he spent five years as chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Automotive.

He told Automotive News that he had agreed to stay on as chairman for that time period. And once a noncompete agreement with Berkshire ended, Van Tuyl said, he bought a BMW store late last year in Glendale, Ariz. He said he also owns a Volvo store, which he acquired from Berkshire Hathaway Automotive, and a new Jaguar-Land Rover dealership, also in Glendale.

Van Tuyl said he just didn’t want to stay out of automotive retailing.

“We just wanted to get back into it because we love the business and all the people associated with it,” he said. “And so we’re excited.”

He called Berkshire Hathaway “fantastic” and said it would “continue to be fantastic.”

Van Tuyl’s most recent acquisition came when he bought Team Gillman Honda West last week from Chris Gillman. The store has been renamed Easy Honda.

Bill Scrivner, CEO of Pinnacle Mergers & Acquisitions in Frisco, Texas, said he represented Van Tuyl in that transaction. And he said he is working with Van Tuyl to help him find more acquisition targets. The two have known each other for nearly three decades, Scrivner said, and have done “probably 50 deals” together.

Scrivner, who described Van Tuyl as a friend, said he got a call from him this year indicating he wanted to get back into the business and wondered what stores were available.
Scrivner’s firm had just represented Penske Automotive Group Inc. in the sale of two Texas Honda dealerships to Gillman in December. His firm reached out to Gillman to ask whether he’d consider selling one of them.

“Larry and Chris Gillman and I got together and had lunch in Houston and talked about a deal, and we were able to reach an agreement very quickly that I feel like they’re both very happy with,” Scrivner said.
Van Tuyl is close to signing contracts on several other acquisitions, Scrivner said.

“He loves to be in Texas and Arizona, obviously,” he said. “He’s got a home in Arizona. He has a home in Texas. He likes both states and wants to be able to buy dealerships in both states.”

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