AutoNation eyes Inchcape UK dealerships in £350m potential deal

US automotive giant considers bid for British car seller's UK operations.

AutoNation eyes Inchcape UK dealerships in £350m potential deal

American vehicle retailer AutoNation is considering a £350 million takeover offer for Inchcape's (LSE: INCH) UK dealerships, just months after walking away from a bidding war for rival British firm Pendragon, Sky News reports.

According to industry sources, AutoNation is at an early stage of evaluating a potential bid for Inchcape's UK division, comprising 70 sites with 3,700 employees representing brands such as Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Toyota and Volkswagen. However, the US company may still decide against making a formal offer.

If it proceeds, the move would mark AutoNation's first entry into the UK market following its withdrawal six months ago from the battle to acquire Pendragon. Insiders suggest Inchcape's UK operations could fetch around £350 million.

Disposing of its British dealerships would continue the reshuffling underway in the UK's car retail sector and allow 176-year-old Inchcape to concentrate on its higher-margin distribution activities spanning over 40 countries. Shedding its domestic operations may also bolster Inchcape's £3 billion market capitalisation.

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