In August, Sky News reported that Lithia presented “a board-approved nonbinding offer” for Pendragon, but noted the proposal was contingent on receiving “irrevocable commitments” from each of the company’s five major shareholders. However, Pendragon said it was unable to engage with one of the shareholders on the offer.
At the time, Pendragon was Europe’s ninth-largest dealership group by revenue, according to Automotive News Europe‘s 2021 Guide to Europe’s biggest dealers, when it had 142 new-vehicle franchise points in the U.K. Pendragon also has its own dealership management system.
Lithia CEO Bryan DeBoer has hinted at the company entering other international markets beyond Canada, including the U.K. Lithia entered Canada in August 2021.
During Lithia’s third-quarter earnings call in October, DeBoer again voiced his interest in Lithia entering Europe and specifically the U.K., noting Western European businesses typically trade at lower multiples than what dealerships trade for in the U.S.
“If we can find the right team because of the strong value of the dollar, it seems like it’s a good time to be able to do that,” DeBoer said at the time.
Lithia, of Medford, Ore., ranks No. 2 on Automotive News‘ most recent list of the top 150 dealership groups based in the U.S., retailing 260,738 new vehicles in 2021. Through the third quarter of 2022, Lithia is tracking ahead of rival AutoNation Inc. for new-vehicle sales in 2022. AutoNation has long held the No. 1 spot in the annual ranking.