WeBuyAnyCar and Cinch owner buys Kent's Motorline

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The ownership of a car dealership in the county - sold for £64.5million last month - is set to see yet another change after its new owner was sold to the company behind the likes of online sellers WeBuyAnyCar and Cinch.

Motorline, which had its headquarters in Canterbury and showrooms across the county, was snapped up by Marshall Motor Holdings in October.

Motorline's Skoda Medway dealership on the Gillingham Business Park
Motorline's Skoda Medway dealership on the Gillingham Business Park

But now Marshall of Cambridge has agreed to sell its majority stake in Marshall Motor Holdings for £201.06m to the Constellation Automotive Group.

Constellation is the biggest digital used car group in Europe. In addition to the heavily advertised WeBuyAnyCar and Cinch brands, it also owns BCA (British Car Auctions).

It has offered 400p per share to Marshall of Cambridge (MCH) for its 64.4% stake in Marshall Motor Holdings (MMH), which has steadily grown through acquisitions in recent years. The deal values MMH at £313m.

In a statement, Marshall of Cambridge (Holdings) Ltd said: “This was not an easy decision as MMH is the longest established business in MCH. However, whilst there remains a lot of support and admiration for MMH and the team, it has become increasingly clear that our strategic plans are taking different paths."

Marshall Motor Group is the fifth largest motor dealer group in the UK and runs 164 franchise dealerships representing 27 different brand partners in 37 counties across England and Wales. It also operates 10 trade parts specialists, seven used car centres, six standalone body shops and one pre-delivery inspection centre.

Motorline Toyota in Ashford
Motorline Toyota in Ashford

The takeover is conditional on approval by the Financial Conduct Authority. Full completion is not expected for several months.

Constellation’s subsidiary, Bidco, will acquire the entire share capital of MMH.

It then plans a 12-month review of the business, which will include reviewing its dealership portfolio and existing agreements with vehicle manufacturers and distributors.

When Motorline was acquired last month, it employed 1,500 staff and brought to an end the Obee family's ownership of the group. It was predicted to turnover £800m this year.

Motorline was founded in 1972 by Tom Obee and has been more recently run by his sons, Gary, Glen and Thomas. It has expanded over the years to become one of the biggest motor groups in the South East and South West, and has dealerships in Canterbury, Ashford, Maidstone, Dartford, Gillingham and Tunbridge Wells.

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