Industry Reports

Warren Buffett Acquires Nation’s Largest Private Auto Group

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It was a massive deal first announced Oct. 2, 2014, and just over five months later, the acquisition has been completed.

Warren Buffett is known around the world for many things, but particularly for his investment savvy. He is currently the CEO, President and Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc., an Omaha, Nebraska-based multi-national conglomerate holding company with partial or complete ownership of some of the world’s biggest brands. GEICO, Dairy Queen, Heinz, American Express, Wells Fargo, The Coca-Cola Company and more are included among Berkshire Hathaway, Inc.’s subsidiaries, and now there’s one more.

A press release issued by Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. March 10 announced the completion of the acquisition of the Van Tuyl Group, “the largest privately held dealership group in the United States.” There are currently 81 dealerships in ten states within the nearly-named Berkshire Hathaway Automotive group, the majority of which are found in Texas, Missouri and Arizona. The release states that the group sees more than $9 billion in revenue annually.

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Founded by Cecil Van Tuyl, the first Van Tuyl dealership opened in Kansas City in 1955. CNBC interviewed Larry Van Tuyl, Cecil’s son, on Oct. 5, 2014, about the group’s founding and growth, as well as the decision to sell. Though the sale was first announced Oct. 2, Larry told CNBC that he had first approached Buffett about the deal between seven and eight years earlier, in either 2006 or 2007, while in search of a company with a similar company culture.

Among the marques included in these franchises are Alfa Romeo, Audi, BMW, Maserati, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz. Buffett, who has an estimated net worth of $71.2 billion according to Forbes, is now the latest contender to add luxury automobiles to his investment portfolio. With the direction luxury automotive sales are currently headed, with sales increasing by 62 percent from 2009 to today according to a Feb. 25 report from Forbes, it only makes sense that a savvy investor would be interested in a piece of the action.

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(Source: Berkshire Hathaway, Inc., Berkshire Hathaway Automotive, CNBC, Forbes)

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