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Factories, dealers clash over canceled store sales

When Mercedes-Benz scuttled Jona-than Sobel’s $30 million deal to buy a New Jersey dealership last year by exercising its right of first refusal, Sobel sued. And he got a lot more cautious about where he’d buy more dealerships to add to his stores in New York.

Sobel declined to discuss specifics of his lawsuit. But in general “right of first refusal has a chilling effect on the buysell market,” he told Automotive News. “Why would I spend the time and the effort to structure a complex transaction only to find out a manufacturer is going to use their right of first refusal to cherry pick my best deals?”

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