Peters sale indicates change of gear

Peter Williams | August 5, 2015, 7:32 am | from yahoo.com.au

Car retailing veteran Bob Peters has sold a majority stake in BMW dealership Auto Classic to auto dealer network Regent Motors.

The deal — flagged in WestBusiness last month — will see the Tyson Sutton-led Regent take 70 per cent of the Victoria Park business, with Mr Peters retaining 30 per cent and ownership of the property.

As part of the transaction, Auto Classic dealer principal Darrin Brandon sold his 20 per cent stake to Regent. Mr Brandon will continue running the dealership.

Both Mr Peters and Mr Sutton will be directors of Auto Classic.

While the terms of the deal were not disclosed, the business has been estimated by industry observers to be worth between $30 million and $40 million.

The sale follows Mr Peters, 72, last year selling Burswood Honda to the Divirgilio brothers’ DVG Automotive Group.

Also a prominent racehorse breeder and owner, the businessman said his firm Peters Investments had sold down its automotive interests to focus more on property ownership.

Mr Peters denied the trend towards industry consolidation had made operating a standalone dealership more difficult.

“It’s just part of my business strategy to move out of the motor vehicle business that I’ve been in for 50-odd years into industrial and commercial property ownership,” he said. “It’s a more passive business.”

Regent, founded and partly owned by the Van Helvoort family, runs 15 dealerships across Perth, regional WA and Darwin.

Its flagship is the 45-year-old Scarboro Toyota.

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