Massachusetts-Based Auto Chain To Be Sold To Texas Company

BOSTON (AP) — A Texas-based company is buying Massachusetts-based Prime Automotive Group, which has 30 dealerships and three collision centers in the Mid Atlantic and New England.

Group 1 Automotive Inc. of Houston entered into an agreement to purchase Prime Automotive from New York-based GPB Capital Holdings for $880 million, the company announced Monday.

GPB Capital has been dealing with scandal that surfaced after the late Prime founder Ira Rosenberg sold the dealerships. Rosenberg’s son was fired by the new owners after he raised concerns about the owners' financial wrongdoing, and the GPB Capital's chief executive was later arrested and charged with defrauding investors. GPB Capital also faces civil lawsuits.

Group 1 owns and operates 188 dealership in the U.S., United Kingdom and Brazil, and already operates dealerships in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The sale price was disclosed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“We know Prime’s markets well and the opportunities they represent,” said said Daryl Kenningham, president of U.S. operations for Group 1 Automotive.

Prime has 1,800 employees, Kenningham said. Its brands include Audi, BMW, Buick, Chrysler, Dodge, Ford, GMC, Honda, Jeep, Land Rover, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Subaru, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo.