TWO new car franchises in South Somerset have been sold as part of a multi-million pound deal.

Westerly BMW and Mini, on Houndtsone Business Park, Yeovil, as well as a bodyshop, have been sold by owners Helston Garages Group Ltd to automotive retails group Vertu Motors plc.

Also part of the deal is Taunton Jaguar, Taunton Land Rover and Taunton Motor Company Volvo, in Priory Way, and Westerly BMW and Mini in Bridgwater.

The deal, with a total cash consideration of £117 million, also sees Vertu take on a further 21 Helston car dealerships.

Truscotts Honiton Peugeot is also included in the package, as are showrooms in Barnstaple, Dorchester, Exeter, Redruth, Helston, Launceston and Truro.

Of the 28 sales outlets acquired, four are Land Rover, five BMW, one BMW Motorrad, five Mini, three Jaguar, five Volvo, one Ferrari and four Peugeot. Vertu already has four car sales outlets in the region.

The acquisition of Helston is a continuation of Vertu's long-term strategy to drive scale, expand into new and attractive regions and introduce new manufacturer partners.

Vertu plans to fully integrate the Helston operation into its own systems by the end of March, with the acquired dealerships being rebranded using the Vertu Motors and Bristol Street Motors brands.

Robert Forrester, chief executive officer of Vertu Motors, said: “We are delighted that Vertu Motors has agreed to acquire Helston and 28 dealerships, further evidence of the execution of our long-term strategy to build scale, geographic coverage and deepen our relationships with our key automotive manufacturers.

"We are particularly pleased that we have received strong support for the acquisition from our manufacturer partners and our lending banks to support the deal.

"Volvo and Ferrari are introduced to our portfolio, which is a very proud moment for the group.

“Helston has a long track record of delivering strong profitability and we have admired the group for a long time.

"The acquisition will be both financially and strategically accretive for Vertu Motors, delivering long term value creation for our shareholders.

"We now have 32 dealerships in the South West, which becomes a core region.

“I am delighted to welcome so many new colleagues to the group and look forward to integrating Helston and the team into Vertu Motors, particularly introducing our digital expertise.

“While there is uncertainty in the UK economy today, we continue to invest for the long-term and remain excited about the future for Vertu Motors.”