Haig Partners Advises on River States Freightliner Dealerships Sale to Penske’s Premier Truck Group

Haig Partners LLC, a prominent advisory firm specializing in buy-sell transactions within the U.S. automotive, heavy truck, and RV dealership sectors, recently facilitated the sale of River States Truck and Trailer (“River States”) to Premier Truck Group (“PTG”). PTG, a division of Penske Automotive Group, Inc., is renowned for its extensive presence in medium-duty and heavy-duty commercial trucks across North America.

The acquisition is poised to augment PTG’s annualized revenue by approximately $200 million. With existing operations spanning 48 locations across several U.S. states and provinces in Canada, PTG’s expansion through River States encompasses five strategically located facilities in Western Wisconsin and Eastern Minnesota. These include three comprehensive Freightliner and Western Star dealerships situated in Eau Claire, La Crosse, and Roberts, Wisconsin, supplemented by independent repair facilities in Osseo, Wisconsin, and Eagan, Minnesota. The acquisition further bolsters PTG’s infrastructure with an additional 161,000 square feet of facilities, 96 service bays, and 63 skilled technicians.

Joe Laux, the long-time CEO and owner of River States, expressed gratitude to his dedicated team for their contributions to the company’s success over the years. Reflecting on his decision to sell, Mr. Laux noted his anticipation of spending more time with family and pursuing new business ventures. He conveyed confidence in PTG’s ability to uphold and expand upon River States’ legacy, praising Haig Partners for their guidance throughout the transaction.

Mr. Laux’s career in heavy truck retail began in 1993 at River States, under his leadership evolving into a network encompassing five franchised dealerships and five non-franchised service centers. His tenure saw significant growth in vehicle and parts sales, accompanied by numerous accolades such as Daimler’s “Freightliner Dealer of the Year” and recognition in Deloitte’s prestigious “Wisconsin 75” list.

In discussing his management philosophy, Mr. Laux attributed his success to lessons learned as a collegiate distance runner: perseverance, strategic planning, and nurturing talent within his organization. He emphasized continuous improvement and a profound commitment to personal and professional development as core principles driving River States’ evolution into a thriving enterprise.

Premier Truck Group’s President and CEO, Ron Long, highlighted the strategic importance of the acquisition, emphasizing PTG’s dedication to operational excellence, customer satisfaction, and creating an outstanding workplace culture across its expanded network. Alan Haig, President of Haig Partners, commended Mr. Laux’s entrepreneurial spirit and the strategic alignment between River States’ strengths and PTG’s growth objectives.

The transaction underscores ongoing consolidation trends in the heavy truck industry, driven by strong profitability in fixed operations and the appeal of nationwide service networks to fleet operators. Haig Partners continues to play a pivotal role in facilitating such transactions, reflecting broader trends in both heavy truck and automotive dealership sectors towards consolidation amid favorable market conditions.

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