PE firm Apax Partners, which already has a big presence in classifieds in the U.K. through its holdings in Trader Media Group and the Yell Group, has bought up top Canadian classifieds firm Trader Corp. from Canadian directory publisher Yellow Media for $745 million in cash (U.S. $760 million). The properties Apax Partners is acquiring in this deal include auto classifieds sites AutoTrader.ca, Autos.ca, and AutoHebdo.net, as well as general classifieds site Buysell.com. It is also acquiring a 30 percent stake in Dealer.com, which offers a suite of online marketing services tailored to auto dealerships.
Yellow Media, which bills itself as “Canada’s number one Internet company,” says the deal will help it “accelerate our digital transformation while strengthening our capital structure.” The company’s Yellow Pages Group subsidiary has been on a digital buying binge in recent months, most recently purchasing a trio of Canadian digital ad-related companies for $60 million (U.S. $58.5 million).
For its part, Apax Partners says: “This is a very exciting online opportunity in a sector that Apax knows very well thanks to our existing investments in Trader Media Group in the UK, Bankrate (NSDQ: RATE) in the U.S. and SouFun in China. We will use this expertise to work with the management of Trader and invest in the heritage AutoTrader brand to realise its full potential and allow it to enhance its leadership position. We also look forward to partnering with the founders of Dealer Dot Com and support the business on its strong growth trajectory.”