FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Haig Partners LLC, a buy-sell advisory firm to auto, heavy truck and RV dealers in the U.S., served as the exclusive sell-side advisor to Miami-based Lehman Auto World on the sale of its nine dealerships to Lithia Motors, Inc. (NYSE:LAD). Lehman Auto World consists of Largo Honda, Doral Hyundai, Doral Kia, Doral Genesis, Lehman Subaru, Lehman Hyundai, Lehman Buick-GMC, Lehman Genesis and Lehman Mitsubishi. As a part of this transaction, Lithia also acquired Esserman International which consists of Esserman Acura and Esserman VW in Doral, FL. This acquisition of eleven dealerships represents the most ever in Florida history. Lithia expects the dealerships to add over $850M in annualized revenue.
William “Bill” Lehman, Jr., the principal owner, explained his rationale for the sale, “On a personal level, I asked my wife, when do I retire? When do I smell the roses? I’ve had one job my whole career running these dealerships. I’ve had a great run. I’m 81 and I think it’s time. From a corporate perspective, there is continued consolidation in the automotive retail space, so when Lithia expressed interest in starting initial conversations with us, I felt that this was not only the right time but the right company. I thank Alan Haig and the team at Haig Partners for introducing us to Lithia and advising us on the sale process. This was a complicated transaction and they were integral to helping it to come off smoothly. Jonathan Awner at Akerman LLP was also impressive in his ability to negotiate the legal agreements and close a large transaction like this.”
Bill Lehman, Jr. has been making significant contributions to the economic, political and cultural life in South Florida for over 50 years. Mr. Lehman took over management of the family business, a Buick dealership in North Miami, in 1967 when his father, Bill Lehman, Sr., became a US Congressman. Mr. Lehman, Jr. has since grown the organization into one of the largest auto groups in Florida. In addition to being a highly respected auto dealer, Mr. Lehman has other impressive accomplishments. He is a graduate of the University of Alabama and has an MBA from Harvard Business School. Mr. Lehman served two years in the United States Army and has been a major supporter of local charities, serving as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Museum of Contemporary Art of North Miami, President of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, Executive Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Florida International University, President of the South Florida Auto Dealers Association and President of the Michael-Ann Russell Jewish Community Center.