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Lookers To Acquire Knights Group BMW and MINI in £27m Deal

National motor retailer Lookers is continuing to significantly invest in its dealership network with the purchase of Knights Group BMW and MINI.

The acquisition of Knights reinforces Lookers’ position as one of the largest motor retailers in the UK and introduces BMW and MINI to its stable of prestige motoring brands for the first time.

The £27m purchase of Knights includes 6 dealerships, bringing the total of Lookers dealerships nationwide to 166.

Knights BMW and MINI has dealerships based in Stafford, Stoke and Crewe, each staffed by friendly and committed professionals who share the same customer focussed values as Lookers’ 8,000 existing colleagues.

Lookers Chief Executive said: "I am delighted to say it's Knights BMW and MINI because you can't underestimate the importance of cultural fit when you are making an acquisition and I don't think there is a better cultural fit out there than Knights"

The acquisition of the news follows approximately a week after Lookers announced that it is to purchase the Drayton Group for £55.4m, bringing with it an additional 7 Mercedes-Benz dealerships in the West Midlands. The purchase of Knights Group displays is a demonstration of Lookers’ confidence in the UK automotive market.

The purchase comes as Lookers refocuses on expanding its core Motor Division following the recent agreement to sell its Parts Division for £120m.

Both BMW and MINI continue to increase in popularity in the UK with BMW increasing sales by 12% in 2015 compared to 2014, a UK record sales year. MINI also produced a record year with an 18% increase in sales on the previous year. Such a positive performance helped the BMW Group achieve a market share of 8.7% of the total UK car market in 2015 (BMW 6.3% and MINI 2.4%).

Lookers Chief Executive Andy Bruce said: “The acquisition of Knights is one of our 2016 business priorities and fits with our two key business objectives; firstly, to deliver an outstanding customer experience and secondly, make key acquisitions that enhance stakeholder value through the addition of great brands in prime retail locations.

“Knights is another perfect fit for Lookers and allows us to offer our customers an even wider choice of fantastic vehicles. We are excited to be adding BMW and MINI to our list of brands as they are marques that we have admired for some time due to their history of producing some of the world’s most celebrated and iconic cars.

“While we are currently experiencing a period of significant expansion, Lookers still feels like a family business that takes pride in caring about its people. We believe every one of our dealerships is unique, with its own local profile of customers.

“We continue to see a lot of opportunity in the prestige car market as demand increases among the UK’s discerning motorists and have no doubt that the BMW and MINI dealerships we have acquired will continue to thrive as part of Lookers.”

Lookers Managing Director Nigel McMinn echoed those comments and said: "We are finally welcoming the BMW and MINI into Lookers, it's something we have been trying to do for many years. It's an incredibly hard club to break into and it's a real accolade for Lookers that we've been chosen by BMW and MINI to represent them. Knights is a great business, with an excellent reputation and is highly regarded in the BMW network. It’s a testament to the hard work of everyone in the Lookers group producing such excellent results that have finally resulted in us becoming BMW and MINI dealers. We all look forward to working with them"

Lookers announced a strong financial performance in the first half of 2016, with Revenue increasing by 33% to £2.34 billion (2015: £1.75 billion). Adjusted Profit Before Tax increased by 16% to £50.1 million (2015: £43.1 million) and Net debt significantly reduced to £74.9 million (31 December 2015: £161.7 million).