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Transaction Represents Key Step in Strategic Growth Plan and Is Immediately Accretive
Deal Expected to Enhance Autobytel’s Gross Margins, Boost Revenues and Purchase Request Volume
IRVINE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Autobytel Inc. (Nasdaq: ABTL), a leading provider of online consumer purchase requests and marketing resources to the automotive industry, today announced an expansion of its business with the acquisition of substantially all of the assets of privately-held, Tampa, Florida-based Cyber Ventures, Inc. and Autotropolis, Inc. Cyber Ventures and Autotropolis, Inc., through proprietary content and search marketing capabilities, generate and sell high-quality, high-volume in-market consumer automotive purchase requests.
Founded in 2003, Cyber Ventures and Autotropolis have common ownership and share operating staff and other administrative and operational resources. On a combined basis, Cyber Ventures and Autotropolis had 2009 annual revenues of approximately $10 million. Autobytel reported annual revenues of $53 million for 2009 and $23.9 million for the first half of 2010. The transaction is expected to be immediately accretive to Autobytel’s earnings.
“This transaction extends our core growth and margin-enhancement strategies and solidifies Autobytel’s position as the premier provider of automotive-related consumer purchase requests in our industry,” said Jeffrey H. Coats, Autobytel’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Given our already large and growing auto dealer and OEM distribution network, the addition of Cyber Ventures and Autotropolis gives Autobytel a significant competitive advantage by providing us with an additional major source of high-quality, ready-to-buy consumer purchase requests coming directly from our network of branded consumer websites. We expect our higher-margin, internally-generated purchase requests to increase by upwards of 150%, and our total purchase request volume to grow by more than 40%."
“The acquisition also gives us additional meaningful content for today’s automotive consumer and further enhances our Internet footprint with more than 2 million additional page views per month. We also expect to benefit greatly from the superior search engine optimization techniques and a growing suite of digital automotive products developed by the talented Cyber Ventures and Autotropolis team,” Coats added.
Cyber Ventures and Autotropolis co-founders Ian Bentley and William Ferriolo and certain members of their staff will join the Autobytel team.
“Joining forces with Autobytel will give both organizations complementary strengths,” Bentley said. “We look forward to pursuing the growth opportunities that we believe are ahead with the economic recovery in the automotive industry.” Added Ferriolo, “We are pleased to be on the ground floor of Autobytel’s strategic expansion plans and excited to be associated with the pioneer firm in our industry. As a result, our dealer customers and consumers will benefit greatly from the many value-added services provided by Autobytel that help dealers sell more cars and assist consumers in their entire automotive shopping and ownership experience through best-in-class online automotive content.”
About Autobytel (www.autobytel.com)
Autobytel Inc., an online leader offering consumer purchase requests and marketing resources to car dealers and manufacturers and providing consumers with the information they need to purchase new and used cars, pioneered the automotive Internet when it launched autobytel.com in 1995. Today, the company is continuing to offer innovative products and services to help consumers buy, and auto dealers and manufacturers sell more used and new cars. Autobytel has helped tens of millions of automotive consumers research vehicles; connected thousands of dealers nationwide with motivated car buyers; and helped every major automaker market its brand online. Through its flagship website Autobytel.com®, its network of automotive sites, including Autoweb.com®, AutoSite.com®, Car.comsm, CarSmart.com®, CarTV.com®, and MyRide.com®, and its respected online partners, Autobytel continues its dedication to innovating the industry’s highest quality Internet programs to provide consumers with a comprehensive and positive automotive research and purchasing experience, and auto dealers, dealer groups and auto manufacturers with one of the industry’s most productive and cost-effective customer referral and marketing programs.
Forward-Looking Statement Disclaimer
The statements contained in this press release that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements under the federal securities laws. These forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, the expectation that the transaction will be immediately accretive to Autobytel’s earnings and other benefits to be gained as a result of the acquisition, such as superior search engine optimization and marketing technology, are not guarantees of future performance and involve certain assumptions that management believes to be reasonable at the time such statements are made and certain risks and uncertainties that are difficult to predict. Actual outcomes and results may differ materially from what is expressed in, or implied by, such forward-looking statements. Autobytel undertakes no obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Among the important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, the forward-looking statements are the failure to integrate the operations of Cyber Ventures or Autotropolis into Autobytel’s business, changes in general economic conditions, the financial condition of automobile manufacturers and dealers, increased dealer attrition, pressure on dealer fees, increased or unexpected competition, the failure of new products and services to meet expectations, failure to retain key employees or attract and integrate new employees, actual costs and expenses exceeding charges taken by Autobytel, changes in laws and regulations, costs of legal matters, including, defending lawsuits and undertaking investigations and related matters, the economic impact of terrorist attacks or military actions, and other matters disclosed in Autobytel’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Investors are strongly encouraged to review Autobytel’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2009 and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a discussion of risks and uncertainties that could affect operating results and the market price of the stock. In addition, current year financial information could be subject to change as a result of subsequent events or the finalization of the company’s financial statement close which culminates with the filing of its 2010 Annual Report on Form 10-K.