RealTime IT News

A Ticket to Ride?

Irvine, Calif.-based Autobytel Inc. completed the acquisition of its one-time rival, Autoweb.com, and said the merger of the two operations will create "one of the world's largest, most diversified online automotive commerce and information companies.

The all-stock deal, first announced last April, was valued at about $15 million.

The combined company is projected to have revenues of more than $100 million per year, Autobytel said at the time, with more than 7,000 dealer customers, 24 international automotive manufacturer customers and over two million unique visitors per month.

The merged company will provide auto distributors and manufacturers with marketing, data, technology and management services to help them sell cars both online and off. Boston-based AIC (Automotive Information Center), a division of Autoweb, will continue to provide the industry with content, data and technology.

"Not only do we expect the combination of our businesses to yield cost savings and revenue growth; but it will allow Autobytel Inc. to provide ... services that can benefit every manufacturer and dealership as they seek to increase market share ..." said Mark Lorimer, president and CEO of Autobytel. "Just as important, we have a dramatically expanded core customer base ..."

Autoweb.com stockholders have the right to receive 0.3553 shares of Autobytel common stock for each share of Autoweb common stock they own. Outstanding Autoweb options will be assumed and become options for Autobytel shares.

Autoweb stock closed Tuesday at 30 cents; Autobytel closed at 89 cents and was unchanged in mid-morning trading on Wednesday. Autoweb had been facing delisting by Nasdaq. For the 6 months ended June 30, Autobytel revenues rose 1 percent to $32.4 million. Net loss totaled $40.7 million, up from a loss of $17.9 million. The company has yet to record a profitable quarter.