Incline Village, N.V. – Kerrigan Advisors, a leading sell-side advisory firm to auto dealers in the U.S., represented and advised Northern Virginia-based Sterling Motorcars on its sale of five luxury franchises to Medford, Oregon-based Lithia Motors, Inc. This represents Lithia Motors first acquisition in the Washington DC Market. Sterling Motorcars, which is comprised of BMW of Sterling, MINI of Sterling, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Sterling, Lamborghini Sterling and McLaren Sterling, was sold by Thomas and Joyce Moorehead.
It was a true honor to represent them on this once-in-a-lifetime sale and to match them with Lithia Motors, one of the largest automotive retailers in the United States who we feel confident will continue their powerful legacy.
With this transaction, Kerrigan Advisors has now sold more than 105 dealerships since its founding in 2015, making the firm the most active sell-side advisor to the highest value transactions in auto retail.
“Thomas and Joyce Moorehead are exceptional entrepreneurs who built Sterling Motorcars from the ground up, into a brand synonymous with top luxury and premium service,” said Erin Kerrigan, Founder and Managing Director of Kerrigan Advisors. “The Moorehead’s contributions to their community, from their investment in their employees to their extensive philanthropy, has left an indelible mark on the industry. It was a true honor to represent them on this once-in-a-lifetime sale and to match them with Lithia Motors, one of the largest automotive retailers in the United States who we feel confident will continue their powerful legacy.”
The Mooreheads opened BMW of Sterling in Sterling, Virginia in Loudon County in 2001. Loudon County, which is the fastest growing county in Virginia and the highest income county in the US, embraced the dealership which rapidly became one of the most successful BMW dealerships in the region. In 2010, BMW of Sterling was the first DMV (DC Maryland Virginia) BMW dealership to earn the prestigious Center of Excellence Award. In 2013 and 2016 respectively, Mr. Moorehead became the first African American Rolls-Royce, Lamborghini and McLaren, auto dealer in the world. Today, these high value luxury dealerships serve a market area that extends well beyond Northern Virginia.
“Making the decision to sell Sterling Motorcars was not one that Joyce and I made lightly; we have served this remarkable community for the past 20 years and have loved working with these brands, which represent the pinnacle of automotive engineering and luxury achievement,” said Thomas Moorehead. “Throughout this process, we knew that Kerrigan Advisors not only had our best interests at heart, but also those of our staff and community and the brands we represented. We are grateful for the high level of service, sophistication and insight the team at Kerrigan Advisors brought to the sale process, as well as their hard work to ensure the transaction came to a smooth and successful close.”
Mr. Moorehead is the recipient of multiple business awards and has been a leader of NAMAD (National Association of Minority Auto Dealers) for the past 37 years, including serving as chairman for two terms. The Mooreheads are well known for their extensive philanthropy which includes the Joyce and Thomas Moorehead Foundation, which has provided scholarships to students and donations that total over $6 million to families, cultural institutions, civic causes and historically black colleges and universities. The dealerships have worked with the Make a Wish foundation, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Lift Me Up!, March of Dimes, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Cultural Foundation. The Mooreheads are Founding Members of The Museum of African American History and Culture. They recently cosponsored Rosa Parks: In Her Own Words, an Exhibition at the Library of Congress.
“We want to thank our loyal customers for their years of support, and our employees for their years of service and commitment to the community,” said Joyce Moorehead. “We know that we are leaving you in good hands with Lithia Motors, who will continue to grow and enhance what we have built with Sterling Motorcars.”
“This transaction is further evidence of the current strength of the buy/sell market, which is as active as I have ever seen it, and indicates that buyers are willing to enter new markets for prime assets, such as Sterling Motorcars,” continued Kerrigan. “The auto industry continues to demonstrate its remarkable durability, even in the face of uncertainties around the pandemic – and much of this resilience is due to superlative auto retailers such as the Mooreheads and forward-thinking auto groups such as Lithia Motors.”
Stephen Dietrich of Holland & Knight served as legal counsel to Sterling.