- Billionaire investor Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. has agreed to purchase Van Tuyl Group, the largest privately owned U.S. auto dealership group.
- Van Tuyl Group ranks fifth among all U.S. auto dealership groups, with 78 locations operating in states including California, Florida and Texas.
- The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2015.
Van Tuyl Group ranks 5th among all U.S. auto dealership groups, with 78 locations operating in states including California, Florida and Texas.
"The Van Tuyl Group fits perfectly into Berkshire Hathaway from both a financial and cultural viewpoint," said Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway chairman and CEO, in a statement on Thursday. "Larry Van Tuyl along with his father, Cecil, spent decades building outstanding dealerships operated by local partners."
The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2015. The company will be known as Berkshire Hathaway Automotive and will be headquartered in Dallas, Texas.
"I fully expect we'll buy a lot more dealerships over time," Buffett told CNBC.
Unlike many other dealership groups, private and public, each Van Tuyl dealership is independently operated, and each dealer principal owns a piece of the store, according to Automotive News.
The group provides the dealerships with such services as finance and insurance, technology and accounting.
Van Tuyl was instrumental in the launch of the Internet Automobile Dealers Association, according to Automotive News. Van Tuyl dealerships were among the first to sell cars and trucks online.
"The better the people you surround yourself with, the better you're going to do, for yourself and the consumer," was Cecil Van Tuyl's motto.
Edmunds says: Warren Buffett puts his stamp of approval on the auto retailing business model with this gigantic move.