One of Northern Ireland's longest-running and best-known car dealerships has been taken over by a top UK motor firm.
The Isaac Agnew Group, which is one of the UK's best franchised dealers, has been acquired by the Sytner Group - a Leicestershire-based car retailer - for an undisclosed sum.
Established in 1931, the Agnew group, which owns and operates 16 dealerships representing nine vehicle brands including Porsche, Audi, BMW and Mercedes, employs about 800 people and has a turnover of around £340m.
Funding for the acquisition has been exclusively provided to Sytner Group by Royal Bank of Scotland by means of a four-year term loan.
The entire management team under the managing directorship of Yuile Magee will transfer with the business.
"We are excited by the opportunity of working with Sytner, a business that we have long admired and one that has a similar philosophy to that which we have developed in Agnews," he said.
David Agnew, former chairman of the family-owned group, added: "I am pleased that we are selling our business to Sytner who will provide a similar culture and environment to Agnews, a culture that rewards, respects and develops individual talents and has a strong focus on customer service."
Gerard Nieuwenhuys, group managing director of Sytner, said that Agnews had a similar brand portfolio as Sytner in a new geographical region.
"We are excited by the prospect of working with a very talented and loyal management team who I am sure will make an important contribution to the wider Sytner Group," he said.
Legal firm Carson McDowell acted as Northern Ireland counsel to the Sytner Group.
Neasa Quigley, head of Carson McDowell's corporate team, said that the move showed that successful companies here are catching the eye of big businesses from further afield.
"This is a significant landmark deal in terms of mergers and acquisitions," she said.