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Kendall Auto Group buys Anchorage Cal Worthington dealerships

  • Author: Annie Zak
  • Updated: October 28, 2016
  • Published October 28, 2016

Kendall Auto Group announced on Friday that it has scooped up two more car dealerships, adding to its Alaska portfolio.

Boise, Idaho-based Kendall said in a news release Friday that it will acquire Cal Worthington Ford and Lincoln in Anchorage as well as Mercedes Benz of Anchorage. Both are part of the Cal Worthington dealership group.

Kendall will take over operations at the existing Worthington locations when the deal closes, expected to happen mid-November. Kendall Auto Group president Dave Blewett said there are no plans to lay off any employees — about 215 — in the transition.

Terms of the deal were confidential, Blewett said. With the acquisition, the number of Kendall dealerships in Alaska grows to 18.

Just last month, Kendall closed deals on two car dealerships on the Kenai Peninsula, the Peninsula Clarion reported.

"Our stores in Alaska have been very successful," Blewett said when asked about why he was interested in growing business here. "The economy is down a bit in Alaska … but these things come up. You just never know when an opportunity is going to present itself. We're long-term players. We're not trying to buy something and sell it in a year. We're in it for the long haul."

Conversations about the acquisitions began around springtime this year, he said.

With the purchase of Cal Worthington Ford and Lincoln, Kendall gains a hugely recognizable name. Cal Worthington's dealerships rose to popularity in California and Alaska thanks to his outlandish television commercials, featuring him riding a whale, leading a tiger across the hoods of cars, or standing upright on the wing of an airplane in flight.

The accompanying jingle, which chimed, "Go see Cal," over and over again, became a well-known slogan.

"I'm not going to sing," Blewett said with a laugh, referring to his advertising. "We're a little different in that regard."

Worthington died in 2013. At one time, he owned more than 20 dealerships in five states, according to an Alaska Dispatch News article about his death, but the Cal Worthington website currently features dealerships in only Alaska and Long Beach, California. Nick Worthington, Cal's grandson, is the head of the dealership, Blewett said.

When the deal closes in November, the dealerships will be rebranded under the Kendall name, with new signs on the buildings.

Along with Alaska, Kendall Auto Group operates dealerships in Idaho and Oregon.

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