OMAHA, Neb. and PHOENIX, Ariz. — Van Tuyl Group, one of the largest privately-owned dealer groups in the United States, announced Thursday that it will be acquired by Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., the billionaire’s holding company. After the acquisition, the group will be known as Berkshire Hathaway Automotive.
The Van Tuyl Group, which has 78 franchise stores across the United States, will continue to be led by Larry Van Tuyl, who will become chairman, and Jeff Rachor, who will assume the role of CEO, as well as its experienced senior management team. The company’s headquarters will be moved from Phoenix to Dallas, but there will be no change to the 62-year-old group’s business model, officials said.
“The Van Tuyl Group fits perfectly into Berkshire Hathaway from both a financial and cultural viewpoint,” said Berkshire Hathaway’s Chairman and CEO, Warren Buffett, in a press release. “Larry Van Tuyl along with his father, Cecil, spent decades building outstanding dealerships operated by local partners. In recent years, he has shared management with Jeff Rachor, a seasoned auto retailer who will retain a financial interest in all dealerships.”
The acquisition is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2015. It is one of several major dealer group purchases in recent months, including Lithia’s purchase of DCH Auto Group and AutoNation’s acquisition of luxury group Barrier Motors. In fact, dealership buy/sell activity increased 60% in the first quarter of 2014, according to a report from Kerrigan Advisors.
“We are proud of all that has been accomplished with the support of our dealer partners, our employees and the manufacturers that we represent,” said Larry Van Tuyl, current CEO of the Van Tuyl Group, in a press release. “We are very pleased to have one of the world’s most respected companies, Berkshire Hathaway, assume ownership of our company with the commitment to preserving our unique culture, business model and philosophy.
“I cannot think of a better steward to continue the legacy of what my father and I have built over the last 62 years, and I am confident this transaction will position the company on a course of continued success,” he added.