How to Understand the Reasonableness of Individual Assumptions and Conclusions
There are several life events (large and small) that require an owner of an auto dealership to seek a business valuation. Often the owner of the dealership and their advisors may only view a handful of business valuations during their careers. It is not unusual for the valuation conclusions of appraisers to differ significantly, with one significantly lower or higher than the other.
What is an owner or their advisor to think when significantly different valuation conclusions are present? The answer to the reasonableness of the conclusion lies in the reasonableness of the appraiser’s assumptions. However, valuation is more than “proving” that each and every assumption is reasonable. Valuation also involves proving the overall reasonableness of an appraiser’s conclusion.
A new trend has emerged as auto manufacturers are seeking out start-ups for their technology in a mutually beneficial relationship, perhaps best exemplified by GM and Nikola’s plan for a partnership. In this post, we look at the original deal, ensuing issues, and current plans. We will also look at what this trend could mean for dealerships going forward, and the importance of the valuation date.
In our quarterly newsletters, we use various data sources to keep tabs on the auto dealer industry. This includes items like SAAR to gauge the health and activity of the industry in terms of volumes. In this post, we discuss other metrics that help us analyze the dealerships we’re engaged to value.
While economic recovery is still uncertain as the pandemic continues on and new relief bills are on the ropes, there are other ways outside of the box for auto dealers to show resiliency during this time and plan for economic success going forward. This includes opportunities that exist in estate planning this fall for owners of assets in the auto dealer, and all, industries. Three converging factors have this fall shaping up to be the busiest estate planning season since 2012: potentially depressed valuation of assets and businesses, historically low interest rates, and uncertainty regarding the political administration going forward.
In this whitepaper, we break down the value drivers of a dealership, discuss when you might need a formal valuation, introduce the valuation methodologies used by professional business appraisers, and go into some depth about topics such as dealer financial statements and normalizing adjustments to the balance sheet and income statement.
For this week’s blog post, we sat down with Kevin Nill of Haig Partners to discuss trends in the auto dealer industry and the recent release of their First Quarter 2020 Haig Report. Haig Partners is a leading investment banking firm that focuses on buy/sell transactions in the auto dealer industry, along with other transportation segments. As readers in this space are familiar, Haig Partners also publishes Blue Sky multiples for each of the auto manufacturers based on their observations and data from participating in transactions in this industry.
In previous posts, we discussed the valuation methodologies and the value drivers of an auto dealership valuation. The next step in the process is to normalize the financial statements.
Normalization adjustments take private company financials and adjust the balance sheet and income statement in order to view the company from the lens of a “public equivalent.” Adjustments are often interrelated; a change to the balance sheet frequently will affect the income statement.
In this week’s post, we highlight many of the typical normalization adjustments that must be considered in the valuation of an auto dealership.
Auto dealers, like most business owners, are likely always curious about what their dealership might be worth. While there are many times they may want to know, there are various life events that make them need to know the value such as a transaction (including buy-sell), litigation, divorce, wealth-transfer, etc. While valuations tend to be performed infrequently around these events, dealers can evaluate their business and improve its value by understanding and focusing on the value drivers of their auto dealership and addressing them on a consistent basis. So, what are some of the value drivers of an auto dealership?
Litigation engagements are generally very complex, consisting of many moving parts. The analogy that comes to mind is the nostalgic game of Tetris. Like the game, many clients involved in auto dealer valuation disputes also experience anxiety and stress as problems begin to pile up.
We hope you never find yourself a party to a legal dispute; however, in this post, we offer words of wisdom based upon our experience working in these valuation-related disputes. We begin with seven topics, posed as questions, that have been points of contention or common issues that have arisen in recent litigation engagements. We’ve also added two questions to consider additional issues raised during the COVID-19 crisis.
Are we witnessing a revolution in the auto industry similar to that of Blockbuster and online streaming, or simply an evolution into more tech-savvy dealerships? The current COVID-19 pandemic has auto dealers scrambling to find ways to maintain sales as stay at home orders are keeping customers from the dealership. To move vehicles off the lot, dealerships have been pushed into a new era of online car sales. While many auto dealers have only somewhat dipped their toe into the digital space, they have now been pushed off the deep end.
Lessons for the Auto Dealer Industry
Auto dealers are a resilient, adaptable group by nature. It’s one of the reasons many have been able to survive economic hardships or sluggish industry conditions in the past. While we haven’t witnessed the unique totality of the conditions that are present today, auto dealers can adopt some of the principles from the Great Recession to try and mitigate the challenges during the survival mode portion that we currently face.
The valuation of automobile dealerships can be more complex than other valuations due to their unique financial statements, varying cost structures and profitability of departments, different terminology, and hybrid valuation methods.