ELLSWORTH — Southern car dealer Lee Auto Malls has entered into a purchase and sale agreement to buy the Linnehan dealerships and finance company.
John Isaacson, chief executive officer of Lee Auto Malls, said the sale should be finalized this fall.
John Linnehan Jr. said he is selling the business to focus on a ministry. “I just wanted to make sure there was a good home for all my employees and customers,” Linnehan said.
Isaacson said, “We’ve known Johnny and his father since the 1960s, so we’ve always had a good relationship with them and always respected what they were doing in the car business and knew they were respected in the community. When the opportunity presented itself it seemed like the perfect opportunity.”
Isaacson said the Lee Auto Mall presence is south of Augusta while Linnehan’s presence is north of Bangor, so the match is a “good fit.”
“The fact that they had good long-term employees made the decision easier,” Isaacson said.
“We’ve been new car dealers in Maine since 1936,” Isaacson said. “We operate five new car dealerships and six used car dealerships, all in Maine as far north as Newport and as far south as Saco.”
Linnehan is leaving the auto business to focus on his endeavor; a nonprofit organization he has founded called The Gospel.
“I am personally excited to hear about the great things in store for the people of Maine as a result of this merger. I’m thrilled to say that Adam [Lee, president of Lee Auto Malls] and I did business the old fashioned way to finalize our verbal agreement…..we simply shook hands and that’s good enough for us.”
Lee Auto Malls employs just over 300 people.
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Isaacson said his company plans to retain all of the Linnehan employees and all of its locations.