After months of speculation, troubled private investment manager GPB Capital Holdings said on Tuesday it was selling a top auto-dealership group for $880 million in cash.
Specifically, GPB Automotive Portfolio, the private partnership with thousands of retail investors, said it was selling the assets known as Prime Automotive Group to Group 1 Automotive Inc., according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
GPB will receive half the money 12 months after the close of the sale and the rest 24 months post-closing, which the companies expect to be by the end of November.
It appears to be a positive development for confused and cash-starved investors in GPB Automotive and financial advisers who sold the private placements, which were marketed in $50,000 and $100,000 chunks. GPB stopped paying distributions, akin to dividends, to clients beginning in 2018 and raising confusion and a series of red flags along the way.
GPB and more than 60 broker-dealers grabbed investors’ attention with promises of annual yields of 8%, plus special distributions.
GPB lured “investors with promises of monthly distributions that would be covered by funds from the investments and not drawn from underlying invested capital,” according to a statement by the FBI this winter. “As we allege, however, this was all a lie.”
Launched in 2013, GPB Capital was the brainchild of David Gentile, its owner, and Jeff Schneider, a longtime wholesaler and promoter of securities and alternative investments.
Along with another executive, they were charged in February by the Justice Department with securities fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy. They have also been charged with fraud by the SEC. Gentile is no longer CEO and an independent monitor was appointed in February by a federal judge to oversee the company.
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Andrew is half-human, half-gamer. He’s also a science fiction author writing for BleeBot.