CLA Advises Meyer Honda on Sale to Serra Automotive

  • Preparing for transition
  • 3/5/2019
Meyer Honda Serra Automotive

The owners of a 100-year-old family business achieved their vision with investment banking, tax, succession planning, and wealth advisory services from CLA.

Meyer Honda, a century-old automotive dealer in O’Fallon, Illinois, has a new owner, thanks in part to the sell-side assistance of CLA’s investment banking and dealership professionals. The new owner, Grand Blanc, Michigan-based Serra Automotive, operates 42 dealerships representing 54 automotive franchises.

A closely held family business and long-time CLA client, Meyer sought a buyer that would preserve the dealership’s legacy of service and strong presence in the community.

“The market has changed in the last few years, and buyers are becoming increasingly more selective based on franchise and location,” said Ben Axelrod, head of the investment banking practice at CLA. “By combining deep experience in the dealership industry with investment banking, tax, succession, and wealth advisory components, we were able to find a buyer that values the Meyer legacy and helps the family members achieve their vision.”

Scott Strothkamp, principal in CLA’s dealerships practice, added, “We continue to see strong interest in dealerships exploring a sale, but many would-be buyers are tire kickers that ultimately do not have the resources or the vision to get to the finish line. Separating the serious buyers, such as Serra, from less-motivated buyers, is part of what we aspire to do in order to maximize the outcome for our clients.”

Unlike the typical dealership broker, CLA did not just locate a pool of qualified buyers and get out of the way. The team provided an entire suite of services, including brokering the transaction, delivering tax-efficient 1031 exchange on the sale of real estate, and assisting in the management of investments with proceeds from the sale of the business. As the investment banking advisor on the transaction, CLA also assisted Meyer’s counsel, Kurt Schroeder of Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale, P.C., in reviewing transaction documents, due diligence, preparing exhibits, and assisting with posting closing entries.

Charlie Meyer, president of Meyer Honda, stated, “We have enjoyed a great partnership with CLA over many years. Our team’s success was enhanced by CLA’s support and resources, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome. We have built an extremely talented team at the dealership and know they will continue to drive success for Serra Automotive Group.”

Originally selling Pontiacs when it was founded in Belleville, Illinois, in 1918, the Meyer family dealership added Hondas in 1972. It moved to a new O’Fallon facility in 2000. All 73 Meyer workers are now employed by Serra.

The CLA team included Dave Wiggins and Scott Strothkamp, principals in the national dealership practice, and Derek Murphy and Ben Axelrod of the CLA Wealth Advisors.

About CLA

CLA exists to create opportunities for our clients, our people, and our communities through industry-focused wealth advisory, digital, audit, tax, consulting, and outsourcing services. With more than 7,500 people, 121 U.S. locations, and a global vision, we promise to know you and help you. CLA (CliftonLarsonAllen LLP) is an independent network member of CLA Global. See Investment advisory services are offered through CliftonLarsonAllen Wealth Advisors, LLC, an SEC-registered investment advisor.

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