CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Stuckey Automotive has acquired Joel Confer Ford of Bellefonte, according to an announcement by President Matt Stuckey Wednesday.
Joel Confer Ford of Bellefonte will be known as Stuckey Ford of Bellefonte as of July 1 and will open July 8. The business was owned and operated by the Confer family since 2004. This will mark the fifth dealership under Stuckey Automotive, including two locations in Hollidaysburg, one in Altoona and one in State College.
According to Stuckey Automotive, the agreement came to be after the businessmen were introduced by a mutual colleague and friend.
“This introduction is one for which I’ll always be grateful,” Matt Stuckey said. “We were gifted an opportunity to grow our brand in Centre County. It’s humbling when a man like Joel trusts that you’ll care for his business and customers as you would your own. We should all be so lucky to meet a Joel Confer in life.”
The Confer family will still operate their Toyota and BMW locations in State College. All employees at Joel Confer of Bellefonte have been recruited to join the Stuckey organization, according to the announcement.
“I have to applaud Matt and his team,” Joel Confer said. “As exciting as it is to watch their company grow, it appeases me even more to know they’ll do right by our employees and our community. I just can’t wait to see what they’ll do next – and where!”
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Knight-Swift Transportation Holdings on July 6 announced it had acquired less-than-truckload specialist AAA Cooper Transportation.
The acquisition was valued by the companies at $1.35 billion. AAA Cooper is expected to generate approximately $780 million in revenue and $80 million in operating income for full-year 2021. Knight-Swift sees the deal as a growth opportunity and way to enter into the LTL market.
PLENTY OF LTL FREIGHT TO MOVE: Sector enters summer with strong tailwinds
“We have long had interest in the LTL space and admired the success of AAA Cooper,” Knight-Swift CEO Dave Jackson said in a statement. “We feel honored to be stewards of the AAA Cooper brand.”
Knight-Swift said it had three main requirements for acquiring its first LTL operation: The company needed to have significant market share, be profitable and have management depth to operate independently and maintain a good company culture.
“We were excited to have identified AAA Cooper as a partner that meets all three requirements,” Jackson said. “I couldn’t be happier to finally find the right time for both of us to create a partnership. This transaction firmly positions us as a meaningful player in the LTL space, where we intend to grow both organically and through future acquisitions.”
AAA Cooper has a network of about 70 facilities throughout the Southeast and Midwest. Its fleet includes nearly 3,000 tractors and 7,000 trailers. The Dothan, Ala.-based carrier will continue to operate independently, with CEO Reid Dove retaining his leadership role. Dove also has been appointed to the Knight-Swift board of directors.
We are excited to announce the KNX acquisition of AAA Cooper Transportation. AAA Cooper is a leading less-than-truckload (“LTL”) carrier that also offers dedicated contract carriage and ancillary services. Welcome to the KNX Team!
“Joining the Knight-Swift team is an exciting combination for the AAA Cooper team members and customers,” Dove said. “It will allow us to pursue new opportunities and accelerate our growth.”
The purchase price consisted of $1.3 billion in cash, $10 million in Knight-Swift shares and about $40 million in assumed debt. Cash for the transaction was funded from a $1.2 billion term loan provided by Bank of America, as well as existing liquidity.
“This is the fusion of two excellent companies in their respective sectors of the transportation industry, which makes this a win for our people, our customers and for the newly expanded Knight-Swift team,” Dove said.
Knight-Swift received generally positive reactions from analysts after announcing the acquisition. Deutsche Bank research analyst Amit Mehrotra called the decision to enter into the LTL market big. He had predicted at the beginning of the year that the carrier would make a transformative acquisition.
“From a synergy perspective, we think it’s significant,” Mehrotra said. “For example, LTL companies typically have many more customers than TL companies, potentially allowing KNX’s TL operations to benefit from a broader customer base.
LaFontaine Automotive Group on Thursday announced it has acquired Livonia-based Ralph Thayer Automotive, just the latest example of an accelerating consolidation trend among auto dealerships navigating a rapidly-changing industry.
LaFontaine itself has been on something of an acquisition spree. The group — which includes 44 retail franchises, six collision centers and 25 Michigan retail locations — bought Shuman Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Walled Lake and Delehanty Ford in Flushing in October, according to a news release.
As The Detroit News previously reported, smaller dealership operations — often aging family businesses — see an opportunity to cash out amid a historic transformation of the automotive industry, even as larger enterprises look to build scale so they can invest in new technologies.
“On behalf of my family and our passionate LaFontaine team, we are excited to welcome the employees and customers of Ralph Thayer Automotive into our LaFontaine family,” Ryan LaFontaine, CEO of the group, said in a statement. “This strategic acquisition further strengthens our ability to serve customers in the greater Metro Detroit area — for sales, service, body shop and parts.”
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Ralph Thayer Automotive —a family-owned and operated dealership that has served customers in southeast Michigan since 1971 — includes Hyundai, Mazda and Volkswagen franchises
LaFontaine was founded in 1980. Today it employs more than 1,800 people, and says it now has locations within a 25-minute drive of any city in Metro Detroit.
According to a news release, the group sold more than 36,200 vehicles in 2020 and is ranked among the top 50 dealer groups in the U.S. It represents the Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, Fiat, Genesis, Honda, Hyundai, Jeep, KIA, Mazda, RAM, Subaru, Toyota, Volvo and Volkswagen brands.
The dealerships that are part of the transaction will be renamed LaFontaine Hyundai of Livonia, LaFontaine Mazda of Livonia and LaFontaine Volkswagen of Livonia.