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A Practical Guide to Buying and Selling Automobile Dealerships


 


Published in 1989, National Legal Pub. Co. (Denver, Colorado)
Author: John J. Pico
Other titles: Advising and Representing Automobile Dealerships; Advising and Representing Car Dealerships
Language: English
Pagination: 2 Volumes
ISBN 10: 0936381051, 0936381035, 0936381043
LCCN: 89082568
Dewey: 343.73/0786292, 347.303786292
LC: KF2036.A8 P53 1989
Subject: Automobile Industry and Trade — Law and Legislation — United States.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

- PART ONE - BUYER'S PREPARATION -

1.      INTRODUCTION
          1.0               Background
          1.1               How to Use This Book
               1.1.1      In General
               1.1.2      The Format
               1.1.3      The Purpose
               1.1.4      The Sources

2.      QUESTIONS TO ANSWER BEFORE SHOPPING FOR A DEALERSHIP
          2.1                Management
               2.1.1      Qualifications
               2.1.2      Background Investigation
          2.2                Source of Funds
          2.3                Capitalization
          2.4                Representation
          2.5                The Manufacturer/Distributor
 

3.      THE PURCHASER'S DUE DILIGENCE
          3.1                Sources of Information

               3.1.1      Factories and Financial Institutions
                                                3.1.1.1   The Ground Rules
                                                3.1.1.2   Reliance Upon Information
              3.1.2      Physical Inspection of the Dealership
               3.1.3      UCC-1 Search, Mechanic's Lien Search, Title Search
               3.1.4      Financial Statements
                                                3.1.4.1  Reliance Upon By Purchaser
                                                3.1.4.2  Analyzing the Statements
                                                3.1.4.3  Buying Without Relying
                                                3.1.4.4  Case History
          3.2                Officers, Directors and Shareholders
          3.3                Attorneys, Accountants, Brokers
          3.4                Questions About the Dealership
               3.4.1      Why the Dealership Failed or Succeeded
               3.4.2      Sales vs. Planning Potential
               3.4.3      Area of Sales & Service Responsibility
          3.5                Significant Documents
 
4.      ASSET vs. STOCK PURCHASE
          4.1                In General
          4.2                Valuation of Assets
               4.2.1      Methods of Appraisal
               4.2.2      LIFO
          4.3                Litigation
          4.4                General Liabilities
          4.5                Environmental Liability
          4.6                Summary
 
5.      VALUATION OF DEALERSHIPS
          5.0                Introduction
          5.1                Hard Assets
               5.1.1      Furniture
               5.1.2      Fixtures
               5.1.3      Equipment
               5.1.4      Leasehold Improvements
               5.1.5      Parts
                                                5.1.5.1                   Aftermarket Parts
                                                5.1.5.2                   Factory Parts
                                                5.1.5.3                   Pricing Parts
               5.1.6      Accessories
                                                5.1.6.1                   Factory Accessories
                                                5.1.6.2                   Aftermarket Accessories
                                                5.1.6.3                   Valuing Accessories
               5.1.7      Vehicles
                                                5.1.7.1                   New - Current Model Year
                                                5.1.7.2                   New - Carryovers
                                                5.1.7.3                   Demonstrators
                                                5.1.7.4                   Company
                                                5.1.7.5                   Leased
                                                5.1.7.6                   Rental: DRAC, FRAC, Etc.
                                                5.1.7.7                   Used
                5.1.8      Leases, Liens and Service Contracts
                                                5.1.8.1                   Facility Leases
                                                5.1.8.2                   Rights of First Refusal
                                                5.1.8.3                   Options to Purchase
                                                5.1.8.4                   Personal Property
                                                5.1.8.5                   Lease Assignments
               5.1.9      Liens
               5.1.10    Service Contracts - Equipment & Maintenance
          5.2                Soft Assets
               5.2.1      Telephone Number, Post Office Box, Advertising
                5.2.2      Blue Sky
               5.2.3      Goodwill
               5.2.4      Tax Consequences
               5.2.5      IRS Formula
               5.2.6      Allocation of Purchase Price
               5.2.7      Noncompetition Agreements
                5.2.8      Consulting Fee Agreements
        5.3                  Real Property
               5.3.1      Method of Ownership
               5.3.2      Valuation of Real Property
 
6.      PACKAGING AN OFFER
          6.1                The Form In Which the Offer Will Be Presented
                6.1.1      Letter of Intent
               6.1.2      The use of Options
               6.1.3      The Contract
          6.2                Content
               6.2.0      In General
               6.2.1      Assets
               6.2.2      Covenants, Warranties & Representations
                                                6.2.2.1                   Conduct of Business
                                                6.2.2.2                   Termination of Employees
                                                6.2.2.3                   Hazardous Waste
                                                6.2.2.4                   Bankruptcy
                                                6.2.2.5                   Financial Statements
               6.2.3      Method and Time of Performance
               6.2.4      Noncompetition Agreement
               6.2.5      Consulting Fee Agreement
               6.2.6      Management Agreement
                                                6.2.6.1  In General
                                                6.2.6.2  Elements
                                                6.2.6.3  Liability
               6.2.7      Clarification Agreements
               6.2.8      Escrow Instructions

- PART TWO - SELLER'S PREPARATION -

7.   QUESTIONS TO ANSWER BEFORE SELLING
          7.1                Should the Dealership Be Sold
          7.2                The Dealer's Team of Advisors
               7.1.1      Where Not to Go for Advise
               7.1.2      Where To Go for Advise
               7.1.3      The Qualifications of a Broker or Consultant
               7.1.4      Services Provided by Broker or Consultant
               7.1.5      The Cost of a Broker or Consultant
          7.3                What Should the Dealership Bring and How Should it Be Paid
          7.4                The Effect a Decision To Sell Has Upon Factories and Financial Institutions
 
8.      ASSET vs. STOCK SALE
          8.1                In General
          8.2                Insolvent Corporations
               8.2.1      Bulk Sales Notice and Taxes
               8.2.2      Sale of Stock is No Shield to Liability If New Corporation Fails
          8.3                Even Indemnity Agreements Provide No Shield to Government Investigations
               8.3.1      Probabilities of a Tax Audit May Be Increased
               8.3.2      Probabilities of a Law Suit are Increased
               8.3.3                   Tort Liability Remains With Seller
 
9.      PREPARING THE PACKAGE
          9.1                Basic Preparation
               9.1.1      Officers, Directors, Shareholders
               9.1.2      The Facility
                                                9.1.2.1   Appraisals and Asking Prices
               9.1.3      UCC, Mechanic's Lien and Title Searches
               9.1.4      Taxes Due and Anticipated
               9.1.5      Notes and A/Rs - Others
               9.1.6      Prepaid Expenses
               9.1.7      Dealership Employees
               9.1.8      Long Term Debt
               9.1.9      Other Notes Payable
               9.1.10    The Financial Statements
               9.1.11    Storage of Records
               9.1.12    In-House Service Contracts
               9.1.13    The Hard Assets
                                                9.1.13.1   Appraisals
               9.1.14    Blue Sky and Goodwill
               9.1.15    Contracts for Services
               9.1.16    Contingent Liability and Reserve
               9.1.17    Accounts Receivable and Cash
               9.1.18    Supplies Consumed
               9.1.19    Normal Business
               9.1.20    Leased Equipment
               9.1.21    EPA Inspection
               9.1.22    Confidentiality Agreement & Release
               9.1.23    Expenses of Transaction
               9.1.24    Buyer and Seller Warranties
               9.1.25    The Deposit
               9.1.26    Contingencies and Closing Date
          9.2                Contracts for Services
 
10.    PACKAGING THE DEALERSHIP
          10.1            Establishing a Sales Price
               10.1.1    Hard Assets
               10.1.2    Blue Sky
               10.1.3    Goodwill
          10.2            The Prospectus
                                                - Analysis of the Dealership
                                                - Why did the Store Fail or Succeed
                                                - Sales vs. Planning Potential
                                                - AGS&SR
                                                - Fact Sheet
                                                - Restatement of Income
                                                - Area Map
                                                - Local Map
                                                - Economic Profile of the Area
                                                - Franchise Observations
                                                - Financial Statements
                                                - Facility
                                                - Photographs
                                                - Leases, plus Addenda & Assignments
                                                - Appraisals
                                                - Site Control, Facility Requirement
                                                - Sample Buy-Sell Agreement
                                                - Sample Consulting Fee Agreement
                                                - Sample Noncompetition Agreement
                                                - Valuation Summary
                                                - Confidentiality Agreement
 
11.    SHOPPING FOR AN OFFER
          11.1              Potential Purchasers
               11.1.1    Current or Past Employees
               11.1.2    Current and Former Dealers
               11.1.3    The Manufacturer or Distributor
               11.1.4    General Managers
               11.1.5    Rookies
               11.1.6    Final Analysis
          11.2              Advertising the Dealership For Sale
               11.2.1    In Trade Publications
               11.2.2    By Giving a Letter to the Factory
               11.2.3    By Telling Other Dealers
               11.2.4    Through Brokers, Consultants and Such
                11.2.5    Summary
 
12.    INVESTIGATING A POTENTIAL PURCHASER
          12.1              Know the Buyer
               12.1.1    Reputation of Buyer and Advisors
               12.1.2    The Buyer's Net Worth
               12.1.3    Motor Vehicle Department
               12.1.4    Past Dealings
               12.1.5    Factories and Financial Institutions
          12.2              Why is the Buyer Interested in this Store
          12.3              Summary of Seller's Preparation

- PART THREE - NEGOTIATING THE CONTRACT -

13.    NEGOTIATING THE CONTRACT
          13.1              Basic Rules
          13.2              Duties to and Rights of Shareholders
          13.3              Duties and Rights of Factories, Distributors and Finance Companies
          13.4              Duties to Other Purchasers
          13.5              Items to Be Purchased
 
14.    CREATIVE FINANCING
          14.1              Basic Rules
          14.2              Factory Guarantees
          14.3              Redevelopment Districts
          14.4              Sales Tax Rebates
          14.5              Participation Loans
          14.6              Factory Realty Companies
          14.7              Annuities & Insurance
          14.8              Junk Bonds
          14.9              Going Public
          14.10           Limited Partnerships
          14.11           Leveraged Buy-outs (LBOs)
          14.12           F&I and Warranty Companies
          14.13           Lease Loans
          14.14           Pension Funds
          14.15           Miscellaneous Ideas

- PART FOUR - BETWEEN SIGNING THE CONTRACT AND CLOSE -
 

15.    DEALING WITH THE FINANCE COMPANIES
          15.1              In General
          15.2              Factory Finance Companies
          15.3              Banks and Independent Finance Companies
 
16.      DEALING WITH THE FACTORY
           16.1             Notifying of Intent to Sell
           16.2             Factory's Right of First Refusal
                                16.2.1    Factory has No Duty to Purchase
           16.3             Factory's Denial of Approval
                                16.3.1    Requirements of Good Faith
                                16.3.1.1                In General
                                16.3.1.2                Factory Store
                                16.3.2   Standing To Sue
                                16.3.2.1                As a Dealer
                                16.3.2.1                As a Candidate
                                16.3.3                    Because of Incoming Dealer
                                16.3.4                    Because of Wish to Close Point
                                16.3.5                    Because of Inadequate Facilities
                                16.3.6                    Because of Inexperience of  Applicant
                                16.3.7                    Because Point is Designated  "Minority" Point
                                16.3.8                    Because Existing Dealers Do Not  Want The Purchaser as a Dealer
                                16.3.9                    Because of Dealership's Location
                                16.3.10                  Because Facility Lease Too Short
           16.4             Factory's Breach of Promise
                                16.4.1                    To Give Dealer a New Point
                                16.4.2                    Not to Open a New Point
           16.5             Factory's Right to a New Point
           16.6             Management Agreements
           16.7             Point Protection (Site Control)
           16.8             Right to Speedy Approval
 
17.      ITEMS TO BE COMPLETED AND/OR DELIVERED PRIOR TO CLOSE
           17.1             Items to Be Completed By Both Parties
           17.2             Items to Be Completed By the Seller
           17.3             Items to Be Completed By the Buyer
               
18.      PAYING CREDITORS - BULK SALES
           18.1             Bulk Sales
                                18.1.1    Secured Creditors
                                18.1.2    Possession of Assets
                                18.1.3    Tax Liens
                                18.1.4    Employees
           18.2             Ratifying Debts
           18.3             Alter Ego
           18.4             Personal Guarantees
           18.5             Preferred Creditors
 
19.    THE CLOSING
          19.0              In General
          19.1              Settlement Statements
          19.2              What Survives a Closing
 
20.    BANKRUPTCY
          20.1              In General
          20.2              Involuntary Petition in Bankruptcy
               20.2.1    Requirements to File
               20.2.2    Authority for Dealer to Continue Doing Business After the Filing
               20.2.3    Automatic Stay
                                                20.2.3.1                Terms of Contract & State Law
                                                20.2.3.2                Parties Not in Bankruptcy
                                                20.2.3.3                Vehicles
                                                20.2.3.4                Violations of Stay & Damages
          20.3              Preserving the Facility Lease
               20.3.1    Lease Not Terminated Prior to Filing
               20.3.2    Lease Terminated Prior to Bankruptcy
               20.3.3    Lease with Automatic Termination Clause
               20.3.4    Leases - Special Situations
                                                20.3.4.1                Voluntary Terminations
                                                20.3.4.2                Set Aside of Foreclosures
                                                20.3.4.3                Foreclosures Do Not Set Value
                                                20.3.4.4                Dealer is Sublessee
          20.4              Preserving the Franchise
               20.4.1 Factory Approval of New Dealer
          20.5              Control of Dealership By Lender Could Cause Subordination of Lender's Security Interest
               20.4.1    Lockboxes Not Sufficient Control
               20.4.2    Neither Does Control of Checking Account
               20.4.3 Neither Does Supplying a Keeper and Advice, and Requiring Debtor to Hire A Consultant for Sale of the Business
               20.4.4 Neither Does the use of Pressure Tactics
               20.4.5    But a Work-Out Plan which is Really a Private Liquidation Plan, Could Force Subordination
                20.6        Claims Not Made In Bankruptcy May Be Waived
                20.7        Environmental Liens in Bankruptcy
                20.8        Workout (Chapter 11) Plans
                                20.8.1    Disclosure Statements
                20.9        Requirements for a Dismissal
                                20.9.1    Notice Requirements
                                20.9.2    Case Example
                20.10     Requirements for a Discharge
                                20.10.1 Nondischargeable Items
                                20.10.2 Out of Trust Monies May Be Discharged
                                20.10.3 Dealer May Forfeit Exemptions
                20.11     Step Between Informal Workout and Bankruptcy

- PART FIVE - AFTER THE CLOSE -

21.          IS IT REALLY DONE
                21.1 In General
                21.2 Taxes
                21.3 New Numbers
                                21.3.1    Telephone
                                21.3.2    Credit Cards
                                21.3.3    Employer ID Numbers
                                21.3.4    Unemployment Insurance Fund
                                21.3.5    New Checking Accounts
                                21.3.6    Business Charge Accounts
                21.4        Contingent Liabilities
                                21.4.1 Personal and Product Liability
                                21.4.2    Employee Withholding Tax
                                21.4.3    Intentional Torts
                                21.4.4    Banks and Finance Companies
                                21.4.5    Insurance Companies
                                21.4.6    Warranties
                                                21.4.6.1                In-House Warranties
                                                21.4.6.2                Outside Warranty Companies
                21.5        1244 Stock
                21.6        Debt Forgiveness
                21.7        Owner's Debt to Company

- PART SIX - SPECIAL CONCERNS -

22.0        OUT OF TRUST and WORKOUTS
                22.1        Work-Outs and How They Function
                22.2        Work-Outs - The Methodology
               22.2.1    The Lender's Position
               22.2.2    Basic Rules for the Dealer
                22.3        The Necessity of a Keeper
               22.3.1    The Keeper's Affirmative Duties
               22.3.2    Acts a Keeper Should Not Perform
                22.4        How to Survive a Keeper
                22.4.1    The Checking Account
                                22.4.1.1                Procedures for Handling Insurance and Service Contract  Monies
                                22.4.1.2                Procedures for Handling Payroll
               22.4.2    Commissioned Sales People
               22.4.3    Division of Discretionary Income
                22.5        Creating a Work-Out Plan
               22.5.1    The Ground Rules
                22.5.2    The Negotiations
                22.6        Saving the Dealership
                22.7        Closing the Dealership
               22.7.1    Considerations
               22.7.2    Tax Liabilities
               22.7.3    Final Payroll Liability
               22.7.4    Employee Health Insurance Options
                22.7.5    Facility Insurance & Lender EPA Liability
               22.7.6    The Dealer's Service & Sales Agreement
               22.7.7    Mail and Business Calls
               22.7.8    Returns and Receivables
               22.7.9    UCC Search
               22.7.10 The Dealership Lease
               22.7.11 Transporting the Vehicles
               22.7.12 Storing the Vehicles
               27.7.15 Securing the Facility
               22.7.14 Liquidating the Vehicles
                22.7.15 Bankruptcy
 
23.0        THE CONSEQUENCES OF BEING OUT OF TRUST - LEGAL ACTIONS AND DEFENSES
                23.1        The Consequences
               23.1.1    Fraudulent Loan Applications
               23.1.2    Paying with Bad Checks
               23.1.3    Shipping Floored Vehicles Out of State
               23.1.4    Siphoning Assets via Kickbacks
          23.2              Defenses
                                23.2.1    Lender's Duty of Good Faith
                                23.2.2    The Bank Really Controlled the Dealership
                                23.2.3    The Bank Withdrew the Dealership's Credit
               23.2.4    The Dealer was Refused a Credit Line
                                23.2.5    The Lender Broke Its Word
                                23.2.6    The Lender Did Not Do Its Job
                                                23.2.6.1                By Failing to Detect Dishonest Employee
                                23.2.6.2                By Failing to Provide Enough Advice
                                                23.2.6.3                By Extending Too Much Credit
                                23.2.6.4                By Refusing to Allow the Dealer to Obtain a New Credit Source
                                                23.2.6.5                By Failing to Give Notice of Repossession
                                                23.2.6.6                By Wrongful Acceleration
                                                23.2.6.7                Because Lender Withheld Information About the Deal
                                                23.2.6.8                Because Lender Withheld Information About the Partners
                                                23.2.6.9                Because of Breach of Fiduciary Duty
                23.2.7    The Lender Used Economic Duress
                23.2.8    The Lender's Actions were Just Plain Unconscionable
                23.2.9    The Action is Barred by Laches
                23.2.10  Traditional Defenses
                23.2.11  Law Suits are a Two-Edged Sword
                23.2.12  Factory Finance Companies Subject to Dealer Day in Court Act
                                                23.2.12.1              But Maybe Not Clayton and Sherman Acts
                23.3        Personal Guarantees
                23.4        Bribing Bankers
                23.5        Factory Audits
 
24.          FACTORY PRESSURES
                24.1        Introduction
                24.2        Oral Agreements
                24.3        Implied Illegalities
                24.4        Reasons for Terminations
                24.4.1    Changing Locations
               24.4.2    Not Changing Locations
               24.4.3    Below Average Dealerships
               24.4.4    Refusing Inventories
               24.4.5    Cancelling Vehicle Orders
               24.4.6    Lack of Sales Performance
               24.4.7    Inadequate Floorline and  Misrepresentation on Franchise Application
 
25.          FACTORY TERMINATIONS
                25.1        Introduction
                                25.1.1    Duty of Good Faith
                                25.1.2    Standard Dealer Remedies
                25.2        Oral Agreements
                25.3        Reasons for Termination
                                25.3.1    Dealership Facility Questions
                                                25.3.1.1                Changing Locations
                                                25.3.1.2                Not Changing Locations
                                                25.3.1.3                Inadequate Facility
                                25.3.2    Vindictiveness and Harassment
                                25.3.3    Refusing Inventories
                                                25.3.3.1                Refusal to take Factory Lines
                                25.3.4    Lack of Sales Performance
                                25.3.5    Inadequate Floorline and Misrepresentation on Franchise Application
                                25.3.6    Failure to Fulfill Obligations
                                                25.3.6.1                Reasonable Obligations
                                                25.3.6.2                Unreasonable Obligations
                                25.3.7    Failure to Maintain Adequate Working Capital
     25.4   Duty of Good Faith - Summary
                                25.4.1    In General
                                25.4.2    Duty by Contract in Dealer Agreement
 
26.  RIGHTS UPON TERMINATION OR NONRENEWAL
     26.1                In General - Direct Dealer Agreements
                                26.1.1    Voluntary Terminations
                                26.1.2    Involuntary Terminations
                                26.1.3    State Law
     26.2   Remedies
                                26.1.1    Injunctive Relief
                                26.1.2    Standards
                                26.1.3    Reasonable Time to Recoup Investment
                                26.1.4    Reasonable Time to Minimize Losses
     26.3   Right to Sell
                                26.3.1    As a Franchisee's Right
                                26.3.2    As a Right By State Law
     26.4   Compensation
                                26.4.1    Types of Damages
                                                - Value of Facilities
                                                - Improvements
                                                - Furniture & Fixtures
                                                - Inventory Liquidated at a Loss
                                                - Initial or Subsequent Capital Loss
                                                - Goodwill
                                                - Net Operating Loss Sustained
                                                - Damage to Value of Business as Ongoing Concern
                                                - Mental Suffering
                                                - Punitive Damages
                                                - Prospective Profit
                                                - Compensation for Potential Real Estate or Rental Loss
                                26.4.2    Attorney Fees
                26.5        Method of Valuation of Damages
                                26.5.1    Before and After Approach
                                26.5.2    Yardstick Approach
                                26.5.3    Combination
                                26.5.4    Examples of Damages
                26.6        If Dealer Terminates Rather than Suffer
                26.7        Unclean Hands
                26.8        Class Actions
                26.9        Other Evidence
                                26.9.1    Custom and Usage
                                26.9.2    Direct Evidence Not Necessary
                                26.9.3    Meeting of Minds
                                26.9.4    Inducement of Breach
 
27.  RICO CLAIMS
                27.1        In General
                                27.1.1    Statute of Limitations
                27.2        Treble Damages
                27.3        RICO Claims Regarding
                                27.3.1    Franchise Terminations
                                27.3.2    Vehicle Allocations
                                27.3.3    Obtaining Bank Loans
                                27.3.4    Check-Kiting
                                27.3.5    False Impressions of Solvency
                                                27.3.5.1 against the Principals
                                                27.3.5.2 against the Company's Accountants
                27.4        Arbitration of RICO Claims
 
28.          GENERAL RELEASES
                28.1        Unintentional Releases
                                28.1.1    Parts Return Released the Factory
                                28.1.2    Release of Factory, Released Credit Company
                                28.1.3    Signing New Dealer Agreement Could Release Factory
                                28.1.4    Termination Could Release Factory
                28.2        Releases Signed Under Duress
 
29.          MISCELLANEOUS CASE OF INTEREST
                29.1        Partnership Disputes
                29.2        Fired Employees
                29.3        All Encompassing Actions
 
30.          GOING PUBLIC
                30.1        Background
                30.2        Basic Requirements for Going Public
                                30.2.1    The Dealership
                                                30.2.1.1   The Management
                                                30.2.1.2   Diversity of Geography and Product
                                                30.2.1.3   The Need for a Spokesperson
                                                30.2.1.4   The Profit Pattern
                                                30.2.1.5   The Business Plan
                30.3        Adverse Considerations
                30.4        Factory Considerations
                30.5        The Expenses Involved
                30.6        Selecting Advisors
                30.7        Miscellaneous Considerations
                30.8        Limited Partnerships
                30.9        Summary
 
31.          THE FUTURE
31.1        The Megadealer
31.2        Private Dealer Development
                                31.2.1    The Candidate
                                31.2.2    The Amount of Investment
                                31.2.3    The Structure
                                31.2.4    Summary
31.3        Mandatory Arbitration
                                31.3.1    History and Public Policy
                                31.3.2    Why Some Manufacturers Want It
                                31.3.3    Current and Future Status
                                31.3.4    Jurisdiction
                                31.3.5    Attempts to Avoid Arbitration
                                                31.3.5.1                Injunctions
                                                31.3.5.2                Domestic Antitrust Claims
                                                31.3.5.3                Sue the Parent Corporation
                                                31.3.5.4                Allege Fraud in the Inducement
 
31.4        CUSTOMER SATISFACTION INDEX (CSI)
                                31.4.1    Background and History
                                31.4.2    The Major Problems
                                                31.4.2.1                Methods Employed to Measure CSI
                                                31.4.2.2                Analyzing the Responses
                                                31.4.2.3                Application of CSI to the Dealer
31.5 Conclusion
 

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