ATLANTA and IRVINE, CA - www.AutoTrader.com, an automotive marketplace and consumer information Website, announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Kelley Blue Book (www.kbb.com), one of the most recognized and influential brands in the automotive industry. As part of the deal, AutoTrader.com will also acquire Kelley Blue Book’s sister companies CDMdata and CDM Dealer Services.
Details of the transaction are not being disclosed. Kelley Blue Book will operate as a subsidiary of AutoTrader.com and continue to be headquartered in Irvine, CA. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year. J.P. Morgan acted as Kelley Blue Book’s exclusive financial advisor through this process. Goldman, Sachs & Co. acted as financial advisor to AutoTrader.com.
“AutoTrader.com is excited about becoming the new owner of Kelley Blue Book because we believe the company has a great future,” said AutoTrader.com President and CEO, Chip Perry. “Kelley Blue Book has a wonderful history as an iconic brand and trusted provider of vehicle information to generations of car buyers and sellers, and as we look into the future we believe together we can bring a host of new technologies and tools to market that will significantly improve the car shopping process for consumers, and help auto dealers and manufacturers better capitalize on the fundamental efficiency advantages of the Internet.”
“The future that lies before us is full of potential,” said Kelley Blue Book President and CEO Paul Johnson. “We are proud of the Kelley Blue Book brand and our many accomplishments over the past 84 years. Becoming part of the AutoTrader.com family of companies will help us accelerate our growth in the vehicle valuation and consumer car shopping spaces. By working together, we can help all of our customers achieve their goals by providing best-in-class values, information, products and services.”
AutoTrader.com strongly believes in maintaining Kelley Blue Book’s independent and unbiased position in the marketplace. Furthermore, AutoTrader.com is committed to maintaining and strengthening Kelley Blue Book’s role as “The Trusted Resource” for vehicle valuation and other important industry information among consumers, dealers, manufacturers, financial and governmental institutions. Paul Johnson and the rest of Kelley Blue Book’s leadership team will remain in place and continue to enhance the company’s brand in collaboration with AutoTrader.com.
“The Internet has become a primary marketing channel for auto dealers and manufacturers to reach and influence consumers during the vehicle purchase process,” added Perry. “We believe our two companies are well positioned in this very competitive environment to help the industry adopt and embrace new tools and technologies that will drive higher levels of efficiency and profitability among both dealers and manufacturers over the next decade.”
Founded 12 years ago, AutoTrader.com quickly became a premier online destination where vehicle sellers and buyers connect and initiate automotive transactions. With innovative marketing tools and one of the largest audiences of in-market auto shoppers on the Web, AutoTrader.com has become a leading resource for auto dealers and manufacturers to present their vehicles for sale, target shoppers and seek to influence shopper and buyer behavior via highly targeted and cost effective online advertising. For the auto shopper, AutoTrader.com offers a wealth of research-and-compare functions, search tools and inventory of cars for sale, all of which allows car shoppers to find the perfect car to meet their individual needs.
Kelley Blue Book, founded in 1926, launched its top rated Web site in 1995 and is now a leading provider of new and used vehicle pricing information to the auto industry. The company provides its values to dealers, banks, finance and insurance companies nationwide on a weekly basis. In the last few years, the company implemented a new multi-million dollar, state-of-the-art vehicle information management system, positioning the company to deliver market insights.