Daily Mail group sells classifieds site Motors.co.uk to US firm

21/03/2012

US classifieds giant Manheim has bought Motors.co.uk, from Daily Mail General Trust (DMGT), the firm that publishes the Daily Mail and Mail On Sunday. Motors.co.uk is the UK’s second largest online used vehicle classified with 161,000 used cars registered in its site. The amount paid by Manheim is undisclosed.

Manheim already has a presence in the UK classified market with its All Approved Cars and Carmony websites.

In the US it is the online classified market leader with the Autotrader.com site, which lists over 2.7 million vehicles.

The US site has no connection with the Autotrader.co.uk site in the UK, the UK market leader with 348,000 used cars currently registered, which is jointly owned by private equity firm Apax Partners and Guardian Media Group, publisher of The Guardian and The Observer.

The acquisition also includes automotive web and photography specialist Auto Exposure and Complete Automotive Solutions, which provides customer contact management and showroom marketing products for retail dealers.

Manheim chief executive John Bailey said: "The acquisition of Motors.co.uk is a significant and important investment for us and it fits perfectly within our evolving portfolio of products, particularly as the digital marketplace becomes ever more influential. We have been watching the online classified business here in the UK for some time and we’ve had a growing presence in this important market with our own sites All Approved Cars and, more recently, Carmony.

"In the USA Manheim is by far the market leader, owning the US Autotrader.com which consistently lists over 2.7m vehicles. In just five years Motors.co.uk has built up a substantial presence and great reputation in the UK and the opportunity to acquire them has come at a perfect time for us, as we look to expand our services in this space."

The company has announced that all Motors.co.uk employees will transfer to Manheim and the business will sit within its Manheim Retail Services area however there are no immediate plans to change the day to day operations.

In addition to Motors.co.uk the acquisition also includes the associated businesses of automotive web and photography specialist Auto Exposure, as well as Complete Automotive Solutions which provides customer contact management and showroom marketing products for retail dealers.

Motors.co.uk chief executive Garry Hobson added: "We are all extremely excited about being part of the world’s largest automotive services provider and, in particular, to have access to the online classified media expertise within USA Autotrader.com. One of the first compelling opportunities will be to combine the Motors.co.uk used vehicle listings with those offered through Manheim’s portal, Carmony."

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