Growing auto retail giant Lithia Motors Inc. appears to have made an offer to buy Pendragon, a large publicly traded auto retailer in the United Kingdom, according to an international media report this month.
Sky News, citing sources, said Lithia was the “large international corporate” that Pendragon cited in an Aug. 5 regulatory filing. The U.K. retailer said the bidder presented “a board-approved non-binding offer for the entire issued and to be issued share capital of Pendragon at a price of 29 pence per share, in cash.”
Reuters, in an Aug. 5 report, said that the bidder was looking to offer about $558.35 million (460 million pounds) for Pendragon.
A Pendragon spokesman, in an email, referred Automotive News to the company’s Aug. 5 filing and declined to comment on the identity of the bidder. Tom Dobry, Lithia’s vice president of marketing, in an email to Automotive News, said that it doesn’t comment on “any potential acquisition activity until the transaction is complete.”
The proposal to buy Pendragon was contingent on receiving “irrevocable commitments” from each of the company’s five major shareholders, the U.K. retailer said in the filing. However, Pendragon said it was unable to engage with one of the shareholders, which Sky News identified as Hedin Group.
“Given this lack of certainty, the bidder has withdrawn its non-binding offer and both parties have terminated discussions,” Pendragon said in the August filing.
Sky News in March reported that Hedin Group, Pendragon’s largest shareholder, tabled an offer to buy the company, a proposal Pendragon’s board rejected.
Pendragon is 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.
The U.K. retailer also for a time had some dealerships in the U.S. In 2017, Pendragon announced plans to exit the U.S. after buying its first store here in 2000. Pendragon completed a multiyear divestiture of its U.S. dealerships last year.