New York’s Dealership Buy-Sell Market is Hot: What you need to know

With DSMA associate Linda Barnette.

If you’re an auto dealer looking to buy or sell in the New York market, you just might be in luck: the New York tri-state area is currently among the ripest regions for dealership mergers and acquisitions across the U.S. Why, you ask?

Well, the reason is twofold. First, New York’s favorable M&A conditions are currently paired with a national trend of independent dealership owners reaching retirement age. Second, we are witnessing an influx of newer dealership groups entering the market, while established dealer groups choose to expand.

But what makes New York unique is the sheer number of opportunities all concentrated within a centralized area. Indeed, because of the region’s population density, a large volume of dealerships are able to co-exist without completely oversaturating the market. However, this special quality of the New York region is a double-edged sword: while the density of dealerships in the area represents ample opportunities, it also means stiff competition.

For this reason, if you’re a dealer looking to buy or sell in the New York market, it is crucial you work with an experienced M&A partner to help guide you through the process. DSMA’s M&A associate Linda Barnette is an expert in the New York market: A native of Long Island with a large automotive and dealership development portfolio, Barnette brings deep M&A and automotive experience to the local dealers she supports.
For those considering making a move in the Big Apple region, Barnette offers valuable insights. The following is her advice on achieving a smooth, positive and mutually beneficial dealership merger or acquisition in the New York market.

Why is it important to work with an M&A partner that has a presence in New York?

Barnette: As someone with deep knowledge of this region and extensive local experience, I can confidently say New York is truly a market like no other. It goes without saying that when it comes to M&A firms across the U.S., dealers have options, but all buy-sell partners are not created equal.
What works in one region may not necessarily work in a unique market like New York, which is why my focus is on giving our local clients the personal attention they need to stand out in this highly competitive space. Understanding the growing markets across the boroughs, Long Island, Westchester, Hudson Valley and Upstate New York is important, along with having expertise across tri-state auto groups and brands.
As a long-time successful dealer principal, you have trusted well-respected automotive industry advisors like your attorneys, CPAs, and other professionals. I have forged deep relationships with many of these experts and have aligned with them to build a strong automotive ecosystem in the area.

What’s your approach to dealership M&A’s?

Barnette: When it comes to dealership M&As, there are two priorities to which I give extra attention — confidentiality and personal connection. As I always say, “your business is no one’s business but your own,” a double entendre embodying discretion and what makes your business unique.
I consider it a privilege to be trusted by our clients during what can be a highly delicate process, and nothing is more important to me than honoring that trust. Whether you’re buying or selling, the business we’re in is a highly personal one, so working with a partner who respects the emotional factors at play and facilitates the right deal is crucial to a positive experience for all parties involved.

What can I expect as a DSMA client?

Barnette: One of the biggest reasons why I joined DSMA was because of the truly full-service capabilities we provide our clients. All M&A partners of course have associates on staff, but few have a full suite of in-house support services like DSMA does. DSMA has the largest in-house finance team in North America consisting of seven CPAs, along with an in-house legal and marketing team. In addition to these professionals, DSMA also has an essential services department with expertise from former OEM executives who ensure a smooth closing from letter of intent to OEM approvals.

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