News Corp Australia has sold its stake in its online classifieds business CarsGuide, with plans announced for CarsGuide to form part of a new automotive venture, Cox Automotive Australia, through which Cox Automotive expects to combine many of its existing businesses in Australia – Dealer Solutions and Manheim Auctions – with CarsGuide.
Five years after starting the venture with a group of car dealers, News Corp Australia will bow out of its 55 per cent stake following a merger with US-based Cox Automotive. Cox Automotive Australia and CarsGuide have signed agreements with the view to complete the transaction by the end of 2016, after working through the necessary regulatory and legal requirements.
Per AFR, CarsGuide staff were briefed this morning on the merger, with merger agreements being signed today also, subject to regulatory approval and shareholder approval.
“This deal is recognition of the success CarsGuide has achieved in the automotive classified market over the past few years, establishing itself as a leading site amongst consumers recently achieving over a million unique visitors,” Carsguide chief executive Lauren Williams said, according to AFR.
“Now as part of Cox Automotive Australia, CarsGuide will deliver and support our 2100 dealers with much needed alternatives across all parts of the value chain. The merger of Cox and CarsGuide will be transformative for CarsGuide and the automotive industry in Australia.
“Major changes within the automotive landscape are creating vast new opportunities and formidable barriers to success that until a few years ago didn’t even exist. Cox Automotive Australia will exist to empower each of our customers to thrive in a rapidly changing automotive marketplace.”
Campbell Jones, chief executive officer of Manheim Australia and New Zealand said, “For some time we have been talking about the significant investments our parent company, Cox Automotive, has continued to make in our market.
“The acquisition of Dealer Solutions earlier this year certainly signalled our intent to replicate the breadth of products, services and solutions they already provide on a global scale, within Australia and New Zealand.”
“Today is a watershed moment for the automotive industry, as we announce our plans to strategically combine CarsGuide with Dealer Solutions and Manheim. This will more closely align our capabilities in Australia with Cox Automotive’s comprehensive range of products and services available to the wholesale and retail sectors of the automotive market.”
Sandy Schwartz, president of Cox Automotive, added, “This exciting news is yet another sign of Cox Automotive’s commitment to the local markets in Australia and New Zealand.
“As part of Cox Enterprises, a global firm with 55,000 employees and revenues of more than $18 billion (USD), we can actively support local clients with the resources of one of the world’s leading automotive services company.”