AutoTrader.com, a major online marketplace for vehicle sales and information, is buying Kelley Blue Book and its sister companies CDMdata and CDM Dealer Services.
Details of the transaction are not being disclosed. Kelley Blue Book, which includes www.kbbb.com, will operate as a subsidiary of Atlanta-based AutoTrader.com and continue to operate out of Irvine, CA.
Kelley’s automotive services include used-car-value guides and third-party lead referrals to dealers.
The deal is expected to close by the end of the year. J.P. Morgan acted as Kelley Blue Book’s financial advisor and Goldman, Sachs & Co. acted as AutoTrader’s.
It is AutoTrader’s second major acquisition in as many months. The company purchased, a leading provider of advanced software for dealership used-vehicle management, pricing and inventory optimization.
“AutoTrader.com is excited about becoming the new owner of Kelley Blue Book because we believe the company has a great future,” says AutoTrader.com President and CEO Chip Perry.
Kelley Blue Book, founded in 1926, launched its website in 1995 and now is a leading provider of new- and used-vehicle pricing information to the auto industry and general public.
In the last few years, the company implemented a new vehicle-information management system to deliver market insights.
Says Perry: “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.”
Being part of AutoTrader will help Kelley accelerate growth in the vehicle valuation and consumer car-shopping spaces, Kelley Blue Book President and CEO Paul Johnson says. He and the rest of Kelley’s leadership team will remain in place.
AutoTrader.com believes in maintaining Kelley Blue Book’s independent and unbiased position in the marketplace, Perry says.
“The Internet has become a primary marketing channel for auto dealers and manufacturers to reach and influence consumers during the vehicle-purchase process,” says 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.”