The Presidio Group Advises on the Sale of Ford and Lincoln Dealerships in Michigan

The Presidio Group LLC (“Presidio”), an independent merchant banking firm focused on mergers and acquisitions, capital raising, and investments in the automotive retail and consumer mobility sectors, exclusively advised Barry Merrill, president and owner of Grand Ledge Ford Lincoln and Merrill Ford Okemos, on the sale of his auto dealerships to Morrie’s Automotive Group.

“As I made the difficult decision to sell my dealerships and turn to the next chapter in my life, there was no better team to turn to for assistance than Presidio,” said Barry Merrill. “I wanted a smooth transaction while making sure my loyal team members, many of whom have been with me for years, would be in good hands,” added Merrill. “The experienced professionals on the Presidio team understood my objectives and found the perfect buyer in Morrie’s, which has a history of dedication to both its employees and the communities in which it operates.”

“We were thrilled when The Presidio Group approached us with the opportunity to acquire our first franchises in Michigan,” said Lance Iserman, CEO of Morrie’s Automotive Group. “We were looking for strategic acquisitions in the upper Midwest, and these domestic brands have very loyal customers and great market appeal. We look forward to extending the fine customer service we are famous for to Michiganders, as well as being involved in the local communities.”

“We have considerable expertise in helping owners who are ready to monetize the value of their business while finding a buyer that meets their objectives,” said Brodie Cobb, founder and CEO of The Presidio Group. “In this case, we knew these franchises were the perfect fit for Morrie’s growth strategy, and that Morrie’s had the kind of values that Barry sought in a buyer. We were honored to bring the two parties together.”

“Domestic franchises in Michigan are highly sought after, and we were privileged to help Barry Merrill find a buyer who understood the value of his dealerships,” said George Karolis, president of The Presidio Group. “With these transactions, Presidio has advised on 88 dealership transactions in 2021, representing more than $4 billion in revenue. We expect the market to remain robust in 2022, as well.”

Daniel H. Minkus of Clark Hill PLC in Birmingham, MI served as legal counsel to the seller. Steven Dietrich of Holland & Knight LLP served as legal counsel to the seller.

The Presidio Group provided exclusive M&A advisory services to Barry C. Merrill through its wholly owned investment bank, Presidio Merchant Partners LLC.

About Barry C. Merrill: Barry Merrill has owned and operated the Grand Ledge Ford Lincoln dealership for almost 20 years, acquiring Merrill Ford Okemos in 2019. With over 40 years in the car business, Barry is a hands-on owner who understands it takes a team of dedicated people to serve his customers. He practices this mantra each and every day by hiring, training, and cultivating employees who share this same passion for serving others.

About Morrie’s Auto Group: Morrie’s Auto Group is headquartered in Minnetonka, MN with dealerships throughout Minnesota, Wisconsin and now in Michigan. Morrie’s is owned by Fremont Private Holdings, the investment arm of the Fremont Group, the family office of the Bechtel family. Morrie’s prides itself on its Buy Happy Promise and no-haggle pricing, as well as its community involvement and commitment to making its employees’ lives better through work.

The Presidio Group LLC was founded in 1998 with the simple mission to relentlessly put the interests of our clients first. By steadfastly adhering to this philosophy, the firm has earned the trust of clients throughout the United States. During their careers, the professionals at Presidio have collectively done over 200 transactions for more than $14 billion. It also publishes Presidio’s Where the Rubber Meets the Road, a leading source of information about the automotive retail landscape and the automotive retail M&A environment. The Presidio Group is based in Denver and Atlanta. Presidio Merchant Partners LLC is a subsidiary of The Presidio Group LLC and is a member of FINRA and SIPC. For more information on Presidio, visit


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