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Focusing on dealer acquisitions – January 22, 2007

January 22, 2007
Filed under Features

An upcoming event that aims to put potential Harley-Davidson dealership sellers together with hopeful operators and investors could be the first of its kind.
The Harley-Davidson Dealership Sale and Acquisition Conference is aiming to put all three parties together on April 3-4 in Denver.
“It’s never been done in the industry before,” said Ed Lemco, an industry veteran and the event’s moderator, “but I think the time is right. The expertise is there to put the deals together.”
That expertise that will be at the conference will include Cliff Kraushaar, a manager of GECC Franchise Finance, a company that finances Harley-Davidson acquisitions, and Jim Krendl, an attorney known for his work in the motorcycle industry.
Acquisitions that protect the interest of the operator and the investor, plus remain in compliance with OEMs, “require a pretty adept touch,” Lemco said. “That’s what Jim is particularly good in.”
The two-day conference will provide:
•information on valuing and marketing dealerships;
•acquisition and turnaround strategies, with an emphasis on establishing the forward-earning potential of a dealership;
•current valuation methodology for the sale of dealerships to new operators or to family members or key staff in the dealership; and
•non-operators with realistic income and investment return expectations and information on how to attract a dealer principal operator partner.
“There are many people with money that want to invest in dealerships,” Lemco said, “but Harley is not interested in talking with those guys because they know that isn’t what the Motor Company wants, that’s not what the public wants.
“You throw some rich yuppie (in a dealership), and he’s just going to make a small fortune out of a big fortune. In the process, he’s not going to take care of the customers and will create havoc in the business. The industry has learned that that is a bad deal.”
On the other hand, there are plenty of dealership operators with the necessary experience but not the necessary capital to run a Harley store.
“A lot of young guys out there would like to be motorcycle dealers, but they don’t have any money,” Lemco said. “People who have the money don’t want to work that hard. One of the things we’re doing with this conference is bringing both of those (groups) together.”
The conference also will present ownership structures and buyout plans consistent with Harley-Davidson Motor Co. requirements.
Participation in the conference will be limited to current dealers, qualified purchasers and individuals with retail management experience seeking an equity opportunity. OEM and aftermarket personnel also are eligible to attend. Cost of the conference is expected to be $1,800 for one person from a dealership and $1,000 for a second person from the same dealership.
A complete conference agenda and registration form can be obtained by contacting Laura Lemco (303/697-8514, llemco@att.net) or Karen Rasmussen (340/719-8591, kjrmcc@hotmail.com).

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