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Providence Equity Partners takes quarter of AutoTrader.com

7 May 2010

US private equity firm Providence equity Partners has taken a 25 per cent stake in online shopping and advertising site AutoTrader.com from owner Cox Enterprises.

Cox will maintain majority ownership and operating control of AutoTrader.com, and Providence’s ownership will have no impact on day-to-day operations. Providence will assume two seats on AutoTrader.com’s board of directors.

“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,” said Providence CEO Jonathan Nelson.

Formed in 1997 and headquartered in Athens, Georgia, AutoTrader provides online automovitve marketplace and consumer information services. The site aggregates millions of new cars, used cars and certified pre-owned cars from thousands of auto dealers and private sellers, attracting 15 million visitors a month.

Providence’s investment will allow the company “to pursue the many organic growth opportunities, as well as strategic acquisitions”, according to AutoTrader.com CEO and president Chip Perry.

The firm recently took portfolio company Kabel Deutschland public, with a partial listing on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

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