Global car dealer Group 1 Automotive has agreed to acquire the U.K. retail operations of Inchcape, one of the U.K.’s oldest and most prestigious car dealership brands.

According to an announcement to the London Stock Exchange, Inchcape, founded in 1848, will sell its U.K. business to Group 1 Automotive U.K. Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Group 1 Automotive Inc, for £346 million ($431 million).

By selling its U.K. car showrooms, Inchcape said it would be able to focus on the distribution services it operates in more than 40 countries which offer a higher margin. Once the sale is finalized, distribution services will account for more than 99% of its global revenue and profit, according to the LSE announcement.

Inchcape operates 81 sites in the U.K. and employs around 3,600 people. Other potential buyers included AutoNation.

Group 1 Automotive said in a statement that it had successfully operated in the U.K. since 2007, representing 15 brands at 55 dealerships, “which sell over 63,500 new and used vehicles, and 24,000 corporate units, annually.”

Once the deal receives regulatory approval, Inchcape shareholders will receive £100 million of the proceeds through a share buyback program, which is expected to be complete within 12 months.

Inchcape said the rest of the funds would be used to invest in future growth via “organic investment and value-accretive acquisitions.”

The deal is expected to close before the end of Q3, once it has been approved by the Financial Conduct Authority. The transaction follows similar deals which have seen foreign companies buying U.K. motoring businesses, with Lookers being sold to Global Auto Holdings in October and Pendragon to Lithia.

The sale of the U.K. business was part of a strategic review announced in January. Inchcape group chief executive Duncan Tait explained that the strategic importance of the U.K. retail operations had become “limited.”

He said the “transformation into a substantially distribution-focused business will generate higher returns, make the company more capital-light, relatively higher margin and highly cash generative.”

Instead Tait said the business was focused on “harnessing the capabilities of a differentiated distribution platform for OEM partners.”

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