This is the seventh deal that Northampton firm Howes Percival has acted on for DaimlerChrysler’s UK subsidiary during the past two years, and this particular transaction was completed in less than a fortnight. Time was of the essence in this case because the deal had to be closed before 300 Lex Autosales employees were made redundant, an issue on which Howes also advised. As well as cementing Howes’ position as commercial adviser to DaimlerChrysler UK – it also uses Baker & McKenzie – this little deal will have wide-ranging implications for second-hand car dealerships. Through purchasing Lex Autosales, DaimlerChrysler UK will begin to sell Mercedes Benz itself, cutting second-hand distributors out of the picture. The move comes at an interesting time for car manufacturers, as a block exemption that the sector has enjoyed from EU anti-trust rules is under review. Manufacturers sell through designated dealerships which can sell only the car maker’s brand. This has been challenged by consumer groups.