On Thursday, Parks Automotive Group welcomed Franchise Equity Partners (FEP) as a minority partner following a capital contribution of approximately $55 million in connection with the group’s recent purchase of the Lake Norman and Gastonia Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-RAM dealerships in North Carolina earlier this year.

Led by president and CEO Adam Parks, the group now has 21 franchises in the Carolinas and Virginia.

Starting in 1967 by Hubert Parks with a single Chevrolet dealership in Kernersville, N.C., Parks Automotive Group now generates more than 20,000 new and used retail and fleet vehicle sales annually, totaling more than $1 billion in pro forma revenue.

“Our Parks family and team are thrilled to welcome Franchise Equity Partners as a minority shareholder. There is a strong alignment with our company’s values and vision. It has been a pleasure getting to know Mike Esposito, Scott Romanoff, Don Reese, Mark LaNeve, and the entire talented FEP team,” Adam Parks said in a news release.

“Their financial and automotive expertise and flexibility provided great efficiency in completing our partnership and for future opportunities together. The FEP team’s form of capital, resources, and unique model will be vitally important and supportive of our strategic growth plans,” Parks continued.

Celebrating its second year in operation, Franchise Equity Partners said it supplies large-scale franchise owners with access to levels of capital and in-house financial expertise that are customarily reserved for public companies, while allowing these businesses to retain full control of their operations.

This transaction marks FEP’s second investment in the automotive retail space, after completing a $70 million minority investment in Georgica Automotive Holdings in October.

“We could not be more pleased about this new partnership with Adam Parks and the Parks Automotive Group,” said Reese, who is CEO and president of FEP Auto Holdings. “Our teams’ combined industry experience and expertise is unparalleled, and we look forward to continued growth together.”

LaNeve serves as chairman of FEP Auto Holdings.

“As the automotive industry enjoys continued expansion and innovation, Parks Automotive checks all the boxes we look for when we search for our investments,” LaNeve said.

James Taylor, who is managing director at Truist Securities, provided advisory services and Chris Gyves of Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP represented Parks Automotive Group in the transaction.

Stephen Dietrich, Lacey Croy and Keith Sambur of Holland & Knight represented Franchise Equity Partners in the transaction.

“Truist Securities was pleased to source and structure a valuable transaction for our clients, Parks Automotive, with Franchise Equity Partners,” Taylor said.

“This new partnership between two excellent organizations will benefit from the deep automotive experience of FEP and the execution excellence of Parks Automotive Group. Adam Parks and Don Reese are great leaders and their new venture is positioned to be a prominent player in the Carolina and Virginia auto markets,” Taylor continued.

Dietrich, a partner at Holland & Knight, added: “We are excited to work with FEP as they increase their commitment into the auto retail space and look forward to partnering with them as they continue to grow with their efficient & minority capital model with others in the industry.”