A Fisher Tousey team, led by corporate partner Hamilton “Ham” Traylor, represented the sellers in connection with the acquisition of The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance (“The Amelia”) by Hagerty. Since its humble beginnings in 1996, The Amelia has become one of the most prestigious automotive events in the world as the only motoring event to twice win Octane magazine’s prestigious “Motoring Event of the Year”.
Founder and Chairman of The Amelia, Bill Warner, has been recognized as one of the “Top 50 Players in the Classic Car World” alongside such automotive luminaries as Sir Stirling Moss, Dan Gurney, Jay Leno, and Charles Gordon-Lennox, the 11th Duke of Richmond. In addition to his many achievements in the classic car and racing communities, Bill and his wife, Jane, have been major charitable benefactors through The Amelia to raise more than $4 million for organizations such as Community Hospice and Spina Bifida of Jacksonville. One of the important keys to the transaction for Warner was “Hagerty’s commitment to continued support of the charitable and volunteer aspects of The Amelia.”
“After just missing having to cancel the ’20 show due to the emerging Covid-19 pandemic, I realized that The Amelia needed a partner, not only for stability in our community, but also to grow and scale the legacy that we had built over the past 25 years,” said Warner, who will remain as Chairman Emeritus of the event. “I met with Ham and Casey Arnold, another partner at Fisher Tousey, who had been recommended to me by trusted advisors, to consider the future of The Amelia. Over the course of the next few months, they undertook a review not only of our structure, but immersed themselves in learning about our finances and operations, before advising me regarding the options that would satisfy my personal goals as well as the future needs of The Amelia in a post-Covid environment.”
“After reviewing the options, I engaged Heritage Capital Group to act as the financial advisor. Between Ham and Bill Prescott of Heritage, I had every confidence that all of the complex details and negotiations in finding the right partner and executing the best possible agreement were in the right hands. I couldn’t be more excited as a result to have Hagerty, and its passionate and highly skilled team, to steward The Amelia to an even better, bigger, and brighter future in the automotive world.”
Hagerty, an automotive enthusiast brand that offers integrated membership products and programs, aims to connect automotive enthusiasts across the globe with their Hagerty Drivers Club, which boasts over 650,000 active members. The brand also manages a portfolio of classic car events such as the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance, the California Mille, and the Concours d’Elegance of America. Kieron Lake, Hagerty’s Senior Counsel, together with outside counsel Nick Paquette of Foley, handled the legal aspects of the transaction for Hagerty.
“Once Hagerty signed the letter of intent, we gave ourselves a very tight timetable to negotiate the complex transaction and complete due diligence, all with the ’21 show taking place in the middle of that timeframe,” said Lake. “Both teams worked well to meet the closing requirements in a timely manner. The deal teams anticipated possible complications and the inevitable curveballs that happen with every transaction and worked through them to a successful close. From Hagerty’s standpoint, we couldn’t be more pleased with the process or the results.”
In addition to Hamilton Traylor and Casey Arnold, the Fisher Tousey team that worked on the deal included tax partner Mark Kloeppel, associates Kristie Saoud, Asa Johnston, Avenir Morozov, and paralegal Traci Venable.
The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.