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Auto classifieds portal CarTrade buys rival CarWale


Automobile classifieds portal CarTrade has acquired rival CarWale for an undisclosed amount, the third takeover deal in the segment in little more than a year.

German media conglomerate Axel Springer sold its 91.3 per cent stake in CarWale, owned by Automotive Exchange Pvt Ltd, to Car Trade Pvt Ltd as part of the transaction.

“Through the merger with CarTrade, we are facilitating reasonable market consolidation and, at the same time, are multiplying our invested capital in a highly competitive market,” Ralph Büchi, president at Axel Springer SE, said in a statement.

Citing unidentified sources, The Economic Times reported that CarTrade paid about $90 million (Rs 590 crore) for the deal. But this could not be independently verified.

The deal comes two months after Jaipur-based Girnar Software Pvt Ltd, which owns CarDekho.com, in September acquired Times Internet Ltd’s auto portal Zigwheels for an undisclosed amount. In September last year, CarDekho had taken over Gaadi.com.

BikeWale, CarWale’s two-wheeler platform, will also merge with CarTrade as part of the latest deal. CarWale co-founder and CEO Mohit Dubey will join the combined entity as a co-founder and director with a stake in CarTrade. The transaction is expected to close in the next few weeks.

Axel Springer first bought into CarWale in 2010 when the German firm along with media house India Today Group acquired a 70 per cent stake in the portal from Seedfund and Sierra Ventures. It later raised its stake.

CarTrade.com is an online auto marketplace to buy and sell new and used vehicles. The platform has about one lakh listings for used cars. It also provides reviews, on-road prices, car comparisons and latest news for new cars.

The company was started by Vinay Sanghi, a former CEO of Mahindra First Choice. Rajan Mehra, MD at Nirvana Venture Advisors and former country head of eBay India, is also a founder-director at CarTrade. Its investors include Canaan Partners, Epiphany Overseas Ventures, Tiger Global and Warburg Pincus.

In February this year, CarTrade had raised an undisclosed amount from Chip Perry, former founding chief executive of Auto Trader, the largest online auto classifieds company in the US.

Last October, it raised Rs 185 crore ($28 million) in funding led by private equity firm Warburg Pincus, with participation from Canaan Partners and Tiger Global.

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