Pendragon, has confirmed it approached Lookers about a merger recently, according to a report by Sky News. Lookers rejected the approach from the leading franchised retail group because of the ongoing FCA investigation and the coronavirus crisis.

The financial statement by Pendragon said: “The company confirms that it held outline discussions with Lookers suggesting they might explore the potential benefits of a combination of the two businesses and how this could be attractive to both sets of shareholders.

“While Pendragon believed that such an exploration would have proved beneficial, these early discussions have now ceased.

“Pendragon remains well-positioned having already taken significant steps to reshape the business and to cut costs both in advance, and as a result, of the recent events which have temporarily curtailed business activity. And, as previously announced, Pendragon continues to benefit from the support of its stakeholders during the current disruption.”

A Pendragon shareholder has indicated the company may consider an alternative merger partner.

Pendragon launched a hostile takeover bid of Lookers in 2006, which was ultimately rejected.