Huron Continues Growth of Auction Biz
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Huron Continues Growth of Auction Biz

XLerate Group, a portfolio company of Huron Capital, has acquired Columbus Fair Auto Auction. This is the eighth add-on completed by Huron since acquiring XLerate in May 2014.

Columbus Fair Auto Auction (CFAA) conducts financial institution, fleet/lease and dealer consignment sales each Wednesday. The auction operates an 11-lane arena, reconditioning facility, body shop and mechanical shop situated on approximately 154 acres near Columbus in Obetz, OH.

Huron Capital formed XLerate through the May 2014 acquisition of American Auto Auction Group (AAAG) from Baird Capital. Baird had conducted a consolidation in the auto auction industry to form Charleston, SC-based AAAG through the buys of six auction businesses over a four-year period. At the time of the sale to Huron, AAAG had operations in California, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Mississippi, Texas and Florida. Huron Capital rebranded AAAG as XLerate Group in November 2014.

With the buy of CFAA, Huron has now closed eight add-on acquisitions for XLerate. The seven earlier add-ons were Morton Auto Auction (January 2019); Southeastern Auto Auction (January 2019); Greater Kalamazoo Auto Auction (May 2015); Grand Rapids Auto Auction (May 2016); EPI-El Paso (June 2016); Lone Star Auto Auction (December 2016); and Corry Auto Dealers Exchange (March 2017).

Today, XLerate conducts auctions under 15 brands with fixed auction sites in California, Georgia, Ohio, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin. The company is led by CEO Cam Hitchcock and is headquartered in Indianapolis.

CFAA was founded by Bill Jacobs in 1959 and the family has owned and operated the company ever since. Alexis Jacobs, the daughter of the founder, has led the business since 1982. Greg Levi is the company’s chief operating officer.

“Alexis has run the operation for over 30 years, earning esteem as an iconic independent auto auction with an impeccable reputation and consistently superior customer service,” said Mr. Hitchcock. “These attributes are a great fit with XLerate’s operating philosophy and track record of acquiring auto auctions with strong brand equity. We are honored that Alexis and Greg Levi have entrusted us to carry forward the Jacobs’ legacy at CFAA.”

“This acquisition bolsters XLerate’s presence in the critical Midwestern market and our capabilities to service large fleet/lease and financial institution customers,” added Mr. Hitchcock. “We are excited that Greg and his team will join XLerate’s highly talented management group. XLerate’s team will benefit from Greg’s deep experience in customer compliance and digitally-enabled sales platforms.”

“We are incredibly pleased to add CFAA’s strong family tradition and reputation surrounding service, dedicated staff and complementary sales platforms to our portfolio and are continually excited about its potential to grow and strengthen XLerate’s position as a leader in the auction industry,” said Matthew Lacki, a vice president at Huron Capital.

Huron Capital makes control and non-control investments in companies with revenues of $20 million to $200 million and EBITDAs of $5 million or more. Sectors of interest include business services, consumer goods and services, and specialty industrials. Founded in 1999, the Detroit-based firm has raised over $1.8 billion in capital through six private equity funds and invested in over 175 companies.

© 2019 Private Equity Professional | October 30, 2019

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