(Chris Woodyard) Another famous international business baron is preparing a big deal to jump into the auto dealership business, according to published reports.
Soros Fund Management, which takes its name from billionaire George Soros, has a deal in the works. So says Automotive News, based on two sources who said they heard of the plans from a Soro representative Saturday at a private dinner in San Francisco, where National Automobile Dealers Association meeting was underway.
If Soros Fund picks up a group of auto dealerships, it will be joining Berkshire Hathaway. In October, Berkshire Hathaway, headed by billionaire Warren Buffett, announced it is buying the nation’s fifth-largest auto dealership group, Van Tuyl Group. The group has 78 dealerships and $8 billion in annual revenue.
At the time, Buffett said, “This is just the beginning for Berkshire Hathaway Automotive,” hinting that more acquisitions are to come. Reason: the upturn in the auto industry has made dealerships high profitable, yet the industry is highly fragmented with relatively few large dealer chains and many family-run businesses, often by aging patriarchs.
Automotive News says Soros Fund representative Vipul Tandon spoke to about 40 dealers and other auto industry figures at the dinner. Soros may spend up to $1 billion in acquiring dealers.