US retail group Lithia Motors is in negotiations to buy Jardine Motors, according to Auto Retail Agenda sources. The deal is understood to be worth £300 million to the UK firm’s parent Jardine Matheson, according to Sky News.

Confirming the negotiations, a spokesperson for Lithia said: “Lithia has a stated desire to expand into the UK market and has held discussions with Jardine Matheson with a view to investing in Jardine Motors Group UK.” The negotiations were also confirmed by Auto Retail Agenda sources at Jardine.

Lithia Motors has been looking to enter the UK market for some time. It stated in 2021 that it was looking to enter the UK and was also involved in the failed bid for Pendragon last year. It is also understood to see the purchase of Jardine as a starting point for growth in the UK. The current management team is led by chief executive Neil Williamson.

“Jardine Motors Group UK is one of the UK’s leading automotive retailers and Lithia firmly believes that a combination of the two businesses will help to deliver significant value for employees, partners and customers,” the Lithia spokesperson added.

“Lithia views the potential acquisition of Jardine Motors as a platform for future growth in the UK and plans to invest in the business, working with Jardine Motors’ market-leading management team to build on the strong momentum the Group has generated in recent years.”

Jardine operates 42 new car network points according to the latest edition of Auto Retail Network’s Who’s Where in Auto Retail. The brands operated are predominantly premium and luxury manufacturers including 12 Audi, six JLR and five Mercedes, four Porsche operations, as well as two McLaren, a Ferrari and an Aston Martin franchise. US giant Lithia has 296 stores in 26 states offering 41 brands.

Jardine Motors Group reported a turnover of £1.6 billion in 2021 with a profit before tax figure of almost £29m. Oregon-based Lithia has said it aims to “increase annual revenue through acquisitions by $20 billion over a five-year period in 2020 with a five-year plan to reach $50 billion USD in revenue by 2025”.

Should the deal go-ahead, it could be completed within a matter of weeks.