Leadership Message by Steve Starks –
Last month, we announced that we’ve entered into an agreement to sell Miller Automotive Operations, Larry H. Miller Dealerships, Total Care Auto, Saxton Horne, and the real estate associated with the dealerships to Asbury Automotive Group. While we were excited to make this announcement, it came with a lot of emotion. From the purchase of a single dealership 42 years ago, LHM Dealerships has grown to become the eighth largest automotive group in the country, second-largest privately held automotive group, and has been the foundation of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies throughout that time.
This extraordinary growth and success don’t occur without strong leaders and the thousands of dedicated employees who have worked for the group over four decades. We will forever be proud of this legacy. Even more important than the numbers, we are most proud of the culture that we’ve established and the commitment to the Miller family values.
Several months ago, we began the process of evaluating our future in the automotive retail business. Knowing that we have grown to a point where, again, we’ve become one of the largest automotive retailers in the country, we determined that to go to the next level, we would need a national footprint and a robust digital platform. Working closely with Dean Fitzpatrick and his team, and with the support of the Miller family and our board of directors, we began evaluating strategic alternatives and became acquainted with David Hult and the Asbury team.
From the beginning, we were impressed by their culture. We found their values and philosophy aligned with ours and they shared a strong commitment to customer service.
Looking forward, we believe that Asbury will integrate our dealerships into their soon-to-be coast-to-coast footprint. Our employees have an opportunity to join one of the largest automotive retailers in the country. Furthermore, it is clear that Asbury values our MAO leadership, general managers and dedicated employees. This transaction is expected to close by the end of the year.
Larry H. Miller Group will continue to reinvest in our growing portfolio of companies and investments. In addition, Gail and the Miller family will make a significant contribution to their foundation and continue to enrich lives.
We know who we are. We have a strong value system and a strong culture, and you have been the basis of that for decades. We will continue that heritage, and we will live by our guiding principles as we go forward.
We want to thank Gail and Steve Miller, as chairman of the board, and the entire Miller family, along with our board of directors, for their leadership and support. The Millers are a blessing to each of us. We are grateful they have shared their values with us. We’re thankful for the work each and every one of you have done, and we’re grateful for the legacy that’s been established that will not be taken for granted. We will forever be proud that we’ve been in the automotive business. Automotive has been part of the DNA and fabric of this organization and the Miller family, and we’re very grateful for that.