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Auto Trader To Buy Kelley Blue Book

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On: Fri, Oct 29, 2010 at 3:30PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Auto Trader To Buy Kelley Blue Book

Atlanta-based AutoTrader.com recently announced that the company plans to purchase Kelley Blue Book, along with its two sister companies, CDMdata and CDM Dealer Services. According to Jeremy Anwyl, CEO of Edmunds.com: "This will be a good thing for Kelley Blue Book." Anwyl stated, "AutoTrader.com started out as a listings service and is still very strong that way, while Kelley Blue Book is strong in used-car pricing." He noted that Kelley has been for sale, on and off, for the last 10 years.

The press release announcing the sale said that Auto Trader would continue to maintain Kelley Blue Book's independent position in the marketplace, with plans to keep its CEO, staff, and headquarters. Kelley Blue Book did not provide executives available for comment. Kelley Blue Book, long known as the “go-to source of automobile valuations,” will operate as a subsidiary of Auto Trader, which will keep its headquarters in Irvine, California.

Auto Trader was launched in 1997; the website functions as a resource for dealers and buyers to list and find new and used cars. The site draws 15 million unique monthly users. Auto Trader also sells software that dealers can use to manage and market inventory. As part of the deal, Auto Trader also will buy Kelley Blue Book sister companies, CDMdata and CDM Dealer Services, which also offer inventory-management systems.

Kelley Blue Book was founded in 1926; the company published guides reporting current vehicle values. Today, KBB has a website—kbb.com—with up-to-date information regarding new and used vehicle values, reviews, sale listings, and other research tools related to car buying.

Although Kelley Blue Book has been valued at more than $500 million, Auto Trader had no comment regarding how much it will pay for the upcoming acquisition.

The merging of the two companies is an important event for consumers, who will be able to streamline research regarding features, options, and value of cars before shopping for new or used automobiles (particularly used cars). In general, buyers will not have as many sources to compare.

When purchasing a used car, a buyer who is well informed regarding the potential net worth of a specific vehicle will most likely end up realizing more value from the transaction. In the past consumers may have used both Auto Trader and Kelley to get pricing information. After the merger is complete, automobile shoppers will have “fewer numbers to crunch,” according to Drivers Seat.com.


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