RAPIDLY expanding motor group Vertu has confirmed it is in talks about the potential takeover of three more dealerships.
The Gateshead-based business, which has 81 dealerships around the UK, is speaking to the Co-operative Motor Group about outlets in Yorkshire and the Midlands.
A Co-operative Motor Group spokesperson said yesterday: “I can confirm that we are in talks with Vertu about the proposed sale of our Bradford (Renault and Nissan), Derby (Renault, Fiat, Nissan, and Mazda) and Ilkeston (Nissan, Peugeot and Renault) motor dealerships.
“As with any large organisation, we keep our portfolio of businesses under continuing review and these motor dealerships no longer fit our long-term strategic objectives.”
Vertu, which releases its next trading update on Monday, issued a statement after the Co-op Group confirmed the talks were going ahead.
It said: “The group confirms that it is in discussion with the Co-operative Motor Group in connection with the potential acquisition of three dealership locations.
“This potential transaction is subject to agreement of contract terms, due diligence and various third party approvals, therefore there can be no certainty that the potential transaction will proceed.
“The company will ensure that investors are duly informed if and when this potential transaction is completed.”
Vertu confirmed it was continuing to hunt for further dealerships to add to its fast-growing portfolio when it issued its most recent figures at the end of July, covering the four months to the end of June.
The group, which mainly trades under the Bristol Street Motors banner, added three dealerships during that period, including one bought from the Co-operative.
It paid £1.8m for its first Suzuki franchise, based in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, in a deal with the group, and also bought Ford dealerships in Durham and Hartlepool from Holiways in a £3.5m deal.
The group has 22 Ford dealerships nationwide and a total of nine sales outlets in the North East.
During the four months to the end of June, Vertu’s revenues rose by 11.6%, with like-for-like vehicle sales up by 5.1% over the period. New retail car sales were up by 0.4% on a like-for-like basis, with a 4.7% increase in the division’s profitability.
Growth in fleet and commercial vehicles was “considerable”, rising by 12.2%, while used vehicle sales were up by 6.7%.