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$1B deal to purchase Park Place Dealerships called off due to pandemic

The $1 billion deal to buy Dallas-based Park Place Dealerships – set to close at the end of the month – has been called off, with the buyers citing the global pandemic.

The deal announced last December, was to include the Park Place brand and the following dealerships: Mercedes-Benz stores in Dallas, Fort Worth and Arlington, Lexus Plano and Lexus Grapevine, Jaguar Land Rover DFW, Jaguar Land Rover North Austin, Porsche Dallas, Volvo, Bentley Dallas, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Dallas, McLaren Dallas, and Maserati Dallas. Park Place BodyWerks in Dallas was also slated to be included in the sale. Park Place Dealerships employs more than 2,100.

Ken Schnitzer, founder and chairman of Park Place Dealerships, announced March 25 Asbury Automotive Group has cancelled plans to purchase Park Place Dealerships. The sale was to be finalized at the end of the month.

“We will continue to do what we have done best for the past 33 years,” said Schnitzer. “Now more than ever, we remain committed to creating exceptional experiences for our clients, relying on the talent within our organization, and most importantly, keeping everyone safe.”

Asbury Automotive Group, headquartered in Duluth, Georgia and ranked as the seventh-largest U.S. auto dealer, disclosed the sale’s cancellation in a regulatory filing on March 25.

In the filing, Asbury said it increased its borrowing as a precautionary measure to increase its cash position and preserve financial flexibility due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Asbury Automotive also said it will pay a $10 million breakup fee to call off the deal.

Schnitzer founded Park Place Dealerships in 1987 with a single Mercedes-Benz dealership on Oak Lawn Avenue. Since then, he has built one of the largest luxury dealership groups in the country.

“Our members continue to show resilience and compassion during this difficult time, and we will overcome the challenges we are experiencing as a team,” he said.

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