Dealer owners Eric Levitt and Katie Naughton have decided to sell their two stores, but they are not leaving the business entirely.
Levitt and Naughton, who both owned Mike Naughton Ford in Colorado and 401 Dixie Kia in Mississauga, are joining Dealer Solutions Mergers and Acquisitions, which sold the dealerships, as Directors of Business Development in North America.
Levitt sent out a letter to Kia, which was forwarded to Canadian auto dealer, explaining the reasons he and McNaughton sold the Mississauga store, which they owned for nine years. DSMA was involved in the sales process. Levitt said they had gone through several months of deliberation because the store was special to both of them.
“With that being said, we felt this was the opportune time to take advantage of a hot market by capitalizing on the high multiples and increased returns,” said Levitt in the letter. “With dealer profitability at an all time high, this turned into an incredible opportunity that we could not pass up.
“Throughout the years we formed relationships with all of you and for that we will be forever grateful. After spending five years on Kia’s Dealer Advisory Board, including being Chairman, many of you have become more than business colleagues and we have formed friendships that we hope to last a lifetime. Katie and I have learned so much from our automotive network and appreciate everything you all have contributed to our business, careers, and relationships.”
He said that after going through the process of selling the dealerships, he and McNaughton gained newfound knowledge on mergers and acquisitions and accepted an offer from DSMA Chief Executive Officer Farid Ahmad and Managing Partner Maxime Théorêt to join the company. DSMA has been building its team with some key personnel hires, most recently in May with the addition of Maria Soklis, Past President, Past President of Cox Automotive for Canada and Brazil. She was appointed Executive Vice President for North America.
“Farid and his team supported the Mike Naughton Ford sale by providing a comprehensive valuation for us to determine next steps back in 2019,” said Levitt. “We had such a favourable experience that when Katie and I started considering selling 401 Dixie Kia, it was an obvious choice for us to seek the advice and support of DSMA. They assisted us from start to finish, from evaluating our financial statements and seeking out all profit opportunities possible to prospecting all potential buyers providing us with the best possible outcome for everyone.
“Katie and I are extremely excited to begin our next venture with DSMA and provide similar support to our fellow dealers. At this point, we are assisting both Canada and U.S. dealers and will be able to help those looking to expand across the border.”
In a post on LinkedIn, DSMA said the first-hand the experience Levitt and McNaughton went through the selling process on both sides of the border made them perfect advisors for the company’s clients across North America.