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Cox Acquires 25% Stake in AutoTrader Group

January 7, 2014

ATLANTA and PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Cox Enterprises Inc. and Providence Equity Partners announced late last week that a definitive agreement by which Cox will acquire Providence Equity’s 25% equity interest in AutoTrader Group. Cox Enterprises now holds a 98% stake in AutoTrader Group, with the remainder being held by current and former employees. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. 

"With more than 32 million monthly visitors to our industry-leading sites, AutoTrader.com and KBB.com, AutoTrader Group continues to grow as a trusted and valued online automotive resource for customers across the nation. Our portfolio of media advertising and software products serves more than 27,000 dealer relationships, and we are confident we will continue to lead the way in connecting automotive dealers with the car-buying public,” said Cox Enterprises’ President and CEO John Dyer. “We have greatly appreciated Providence’s strong contributions to the company's exceptional performance as a partner in this growth."

Providence Equity acquired a 25 percent stake in AutoTrader in 2010 to help accelerate the company’s growth. Since that time, AutoTrader acquired Haystak Digital Marketing, HomeNet Automotive, Kelley Blue Book, vAuto and VinSolutions. The collective companies now constitute AutoTrader Group.

“We are extremely gratified to have partnered with Cox and the AutoTrader team,” said Providence’s Managing Director Michael Dominguez. “Through strategic acquisitions and the introduction of dealer software solutions, they have advanced the original vision of the company and created a game changer. We are proud to have contributed to its growth and believe the company has a very bright future ahead.”

AutoTrader Group operates a digital automotive marketplace and provides marketing and software solutions to automotive dealers throughout the United States. The company touches more than 62% of in-market automotive shoppers. AutoTrader Group also holds a 21.8% stake in Bitauto, a provider of Internet content and marketing services for China's automotive industry.

“Since we launched AutoTrader.com 15 years ago, we have worked tirelessly to meet the needs of our customers by expanding our online and software products. With this acquisition, Cox Enterprises and AutoTrader Group will continue to look for opportunities to grow our leadership position and further innovate ways to meet the needs of car buyers,” said Dyer.

Cox Enterprises also owns and operates Manheim, a global provider of vehicle remarketing services. It registers nearly eight million used vehicles annually, facilitating transactions representing more than $50 billion in value.

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