CARS, today announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire 100% of the assets of Accu-Trade which includes real-time, VIN-specific appraisal and valuation data, instant guaranteed offer capabilities, and logistics technology. Consideration for the transaction will be $65 million in cash at closing. There is also the potential for additional cash and stock consideration based on achievement of certain financial thresholds. We anticipate making a $63 million earn-out payment, which may be higher or lower based on actual performance. The transaction is expected to close in approximately 30 days.
“We are excited to enter into the rapidly growing multi-billion-dollar digital vehicle acquisition and remarketing category with Accu-Trade’s best-in-class valuation and appraisal technology. These solutions will drive better inventory management and maximize profits for dealers while introducing a more efficient option for buying and selling wholesale inventory at scale. We will also empower millions of consumers to confidently and securely sell their vehicles online to the best buyer,” said Alex Vetter, Chief Executive Officer of CARS. “This acquisition is a further acceleration of our platform strategy and will fuel our end-to-end transaction capabilities for buyers and sellers as well as long-term growth for CARS.”
As a result of the acquisition, the CARS platform will enable dealers to quickly and efficiently buy and sell inventory at scale across a dealer-to-dealer and consumer-to-dealer network, improving inventory turn and maximizing profits per transaction by helping to match each vehicle with the best end-user. Dealers will gain access to an instant guaranteed offer solution across the CARS platform, including on the Cars.com marketplace and Dealer Inspire websites. Using Accu-Trade’s proprietary VIN-specific valuation and appraisal technology, dealers will confidently source inventory directly from the tens of millions of high-intent, in-market shoppers who visit the CARS platform each quarter.
Shoppers will benefit from real-time transparency and consistency about a vehicle’s guaranteed value, instant connection to the best buyer, and a secure option to complete an online transaction. CARS will also launch new sell-it-yourself capabilities on its marketplace, giving the approximately 11MM² annual private-party car sellers in the U.S. the option to sell to another consumer or to one of thousands of certified dealers. Integration of the technology across the CARS platform is expected to begin shortly after the transaction closes.
Accu-Trade generates revenue through subscription fees of its appraisal and data products to dealers. CARS expects to launch the product across its platform and begin recognizing incremental revenue in the second quarter of 2022. We expect the acquisition will be EBITDA accretive in year one. More information will be provided on the future revenue contribution and incremental expenses related to Accu-Trade on CARS’ year-end earnings call.
Accu-Trade was founded in 2015 by automotive industry leader Robert Hollenshead, a leading North American wholesaler and auto software entrepreneur. Jeff Zamora, chief technology officer of Accu-Trade, who will be joining CARS’ leadership team, said, “CARS’ strong consumer audience and outstanding network of dealer customers, combined with its proven track record of delivering digital solutions, makes it the ideal match to drive wider adoption of the Accu-Trade platform. As dealers look for new solutions to optimize inventories and further drive profitability in their businesses, we believe we can quickly scale these assets across the CARS dealer network. On behalf of the entire Accu-Trade team, we look forward to joining the CARS family to help accelerate innovative digital solutions for the auto retail space.”