Ritchie Bros., which specializes in the sales of used heavy equipment, has entered the collector car marketplace with the acquisition of the historic Leake Auction Company. The purchase was announced Tuesday morning at Ritchie Bros. headquarters in Vancouver, British Columbia.
“We know there is significant customer overlap between our industry and the collector car auction sector,” Greg Owens, group president for new sectors and ventures at Ritchie Bros., was quoted in a news release.
Owens joined Ritchie Bros. in a previous acquisition when the publicly traded company merged with IronPlanet, an online marketplace that focused on heavy equipment sales and condition certification around the world.
“The acquisition of Leake Auction Company, which has been utilizing IronPlanet’s online bidding software for two years, seems like a natural area for us,” Owens added. “We believe this will help us deepen brand loyalty with our customer base and introduce our auction expertise to a whole new sector and group of customers.”
The announcement of the Leake acquisition noted that all employees of the family owned, Tulsa, Oklahoma-based company will be retained and will continue to handle day-to-day operations. The release also noted that Muffy Bennett, former manager of Barrett-Jackson’s classic car dealership, has become part of the Ritchie/Leake team.
“Muffy brings a wealth of industry experience and contacts to our company in this sector,” said Owens. “Along with the Leake team, she shares our same passion for customer service, consistency and integrity. With Ritchie Bros. and Leake working together, customers can expect unparalleled service and commitment.”
“We are thrilled to be a part of the Ritchie Bros. organization,” Richard Sevenoaks, Leake president, is quoted. “We know they operate with the highest level of integrity and professionalism. With their expertise in auctions and geographic reach they can help us significantly grow this business.”
Leake was founded in 1972 by the long-time car collector Jim Leake, Sevenoaks’ late father-in-law. Leake’s next scheduled auction is February 23-24 in Oklahoma City, where the docket also includes the Rolland Racing Museum collection that was supposed to have been sold in December but was postponed because of the fires near the auction venue in Southern California.
Ritchie Bros. is traded on both the New York and Toronto stock exchanges and has divisions including Richie Bros. Auctioneers, IronPlanet, Kruse Energy Auctioneers, Richie Bros. Private Treaty and Mascus, an online equipment listing service based in Europe.