Providence Buys 25-Percent Share in AutoTrader.com; Cox Maintains Operating, Ownership Control
ATLANTA — Global private equity firm Providence Equity Partners is obtaining a 25-percent share in Cox Enterprise's AutoTrader.com, a move Cox officials said will provide the company more investment capital and expertise to help the site grow further.
Executives emphasized that Cox will have majority ownership of AutoTrader.com as well as control over operations.
The move will not impact day-to-day operations, they noted. Providence will now have two spots on AutoTrader.com's Board of Directors.
"This agreement demonstrates our commitment to AutoTrader.com's continued success and will speed its future growth as the leader in the online auto space," explained Jimmy Hayes, president and chief executive officer of Cox Enterprises. "Providence Equity has a strong track record of working with communications, media and Internet companies to promote growth and encourage strategic expansion."
Chip Perry, CEO and president of AutoTrader.com, added: "All of us at AutoTrader.com are excited to see Providence Equity invest in our company. Their support will enable us to pursue the many organic growth opportunities, as well as strategic acquisitions, that will help improve the products and services we offer our customers."
Providence's focus is on equity investments in media, communications and information services companies. The company has its headquarters in Providence, R.I.
Offering Providence's perspective, its CEO, Jonathan Nelson, shared: "Providence Equity has long admired the leadership team at Cox Enterprises and their track record of operational excellence. We are extremely gratified to have been invited to partner with them in the continued growth and development of AutoTrader.com.
"Investing in a market leader that operates squarely in Providence's area of investment focus creates a tremendous opportunity for us to leverage our expertise and add value," he added. "We look forward to working with the exceptional management teams at both Cox Enterprises and AutoTrader.com to continue building a fantastic company."
Officials noted that the two companies signed a stock purchase agreement. They anticipate it will be closed as soon as all mandatory approvals are met. The companies are not disclosing terms of the deal.
Cox was advised by Goldman, Sachs & Co., during this deal.