When it comes to growing our business so we can serve more customers, it’s important to have a subject matter expert leading the effort.
That’s why we’re delighted to have Mike Robortaccio join our America’s Car-Mart family earlier this year as Vice President of Mergers and Acquisitions. In this role, Mike is building the M&A function and will lead the team to identify and acquire well-managed, used car dealerships.
Mike, a Corporate Development executive, has a successful track record originating, structuring, and executing value-added M&A transactions, with expertise in both buy-side and sell-side transactions. Throughout his career, he has completed more than 50 M&A transactions, totaling more than $4 billion in enterprise value. He has directly integrated more than $2.5 billion in transformative acquisitions across multiple industries, and his experience spans more than 20 different countries.
Prior to joining Car-Mart, he held leadership positions in Corporate Development and Procurement at Aon and Avis Budget Group. Mike earned a Bachelor of Science in Management from The College of New Jersey, and an MBA in Finance from Seton Hall University.
Here’s what Mike says about his new role, and what he envisions for the company:
What drew you to this opportunity at America’s Car-Mart?
Like anyone changing companies, I did my own research on America’s Car-Mart. What caught my attention was the company’s unique and highly specific mission, vision, and values, which were quite distinct from others in the industry. When I met the leadership team, it became clear these principles guided the company’s culture, actions, and ethics. They didn’t just talk the talk; they walked the walk.
This is a chance to work for a public company with a strong moral compass and a deeply embedded social mission. I knew I couldn’t let this opportunity slip away. I was excited to be a part of the company’s growth and to contribute to the good work they were already doing.
How will your extensive business experience help you in your new position?
Throughout my career, I’ve worked on various types of transactions. I’ve been a buyer, seller, minority investor, joint-venture partner, and third-party advisor. My favorite types of transactions are those involving private companies. Family-owned businesses, sole proprietorships, and other private companies present some of the biggest challenges, but they are the ones that result in some of the most rewarding experiences and lifelong friendships. I enjoy forming personal bonds with my counterparts and guiding them through the often-emotional process of exiting a family business. This requires respect and patience, and it’s not just about multiples.
I’ve always had a personal philosophy on how M&A transactions should be conducted. It’s not just about spreadsheets and contracts; that is the easy part. The more important aspects are how the parties involved treat one another, the level of transparency and trust throughout the process, and the overall smoothness of the transaction.
With these ideals in mind, we are rewriting the playbook at Car-Mart. Our goal is to become the ultimate partner for businesses in the buy here pay here (BHPH) space. I am thrilled to build a best in class M&A function that will benefit the entire industry.
What are the biggest challenges facing the used car industry today, and how can Car-Mart lead the way?
Access to capital is currently the biggest challenge faced by used car dealers. Many BHPH operators build a strong portfolio, but they often find it difficult to collect these funds or wind down their business. They are also facing various inflationary pressures like rising inventory costs, parts shortages, rising interest rates, and other cost pressures that make it difficult to operate, let alone produce positive cash flows. This pressure can lead to negative consequences for both employees and customers.
Car-Mart can provide a safe off-ramp for independent operators facing these issues, with a spirit of partnership and trust. Car-Mart offers many benefits, both financial and operational, for like-minded businesses through an M&A transaction.
After being at Car-Mart for a few months, what has impressed you the most about the company and its associates?
The most impressive thing about Car-Mart is its culture. Respect for both associates and customers is at the heart of everything the company does, and this is reinforced by the senior leadership team every day. The culture is both top-down and bottom-up, and it touches everyone in between. As a result, I have had the opportunity to work with some of the most sincere and thoughtful people I have ever met. Everyone is willing to help; you can always find a friendly face. This culture is a departure from what most people experience working at a public company, and that is why it is guarded so fiercely. It truly is special.
Was there a moment, after joining Car-Mart, that you knew you made the right decision to work at Car-Mart?
Yes, absolutely. It was my first day, so naturally, I was trying to make connections with my new colleagues. Throughout the day, dozens (and I mean dozens) of people introduced themselves and offered to help answer my questions. They spanned every department in the company, and every level all the way up through our CEO, who personally came to welcome me. It was a great experience, and I felt like I had been working here for years.
What are your aspirations and goals for Car-Mart?
My goal is to help Car-Mart become the top auto sales and finance company in America, by serving the most customers and making positive changes in communities across the United States. I’m committed to implementing a growth strategy that drives this vision forward.
Are you a car person? Do you have a favorite car?
I’m much more of a car person now than I used to be. I’ll never forget my first car. At that time, I was completely clueless about cars and had no idea about basic maintenance like changing the oil. Oops! Since then, I’ve grown to truly appreciate my cars. Living in the Northeast, I’ll stick with my Trailhawk, but one day maybe I’ll move to a warmer climate and get that ’69 Stingray I’ve always wanted.
We appreciate Mike and look forward to the value he’s creating for the Car-Mart brand. To learn more about future growth opportunities and market expansion at Car-Mart, visit our acquisitions page.