eBay Australia to acquire Cox Automotive motor platforms

eBay Australia have agreed to acquire Cox Automotive Media Solutions, which owns CarsGuide.com.au and Autotrader.com.au.

The two brands will join the Gumtree Australia business, a part of the eBay Classifieds Group. Together, Autotrader.com.au, which has about 2,300 dealers and approximately 90,000 listings, and Gumtree, which has approximately 1,800 dealers and about 80,000 private-party listings, provide a compelling car-buying offering and will benable Gumtree to develop a more competitive and attractive platform for Australian consumers.

CarsGuide.com.au provides a resource for sellers and dealers to access research and content to confidently buy and sell vehicles. Autotrader.com.au is an automotive marketplace that provides services for dealers and creates key relationships between buyers and sellers. Combined with Gumtree Australia, the three brands create a comprehensive offering for the automotive industry and a strong competitive alternative to existing online automotive classifieds platforms.

There are two interesting things about this deal. Firstly, it mirrors the eBay deal in the UK to acquire Motors.co.uk from Cox Automotive. It is very clear that eBay are building out their motors business, both in the buying and selling of cars and in the auto parts business.

The other interesting aspect is that eBay have been under pressure to divest certain businesses. Largely led by activist investors Elliott Associates, this has already led to the sell off of Stubhub. However, eBay Classifieds is also in Elliott’s sights as a possible cash cow to turn a quick buck. With that in mind it would seem unlikely eBay would power ahead buying more classifieds sites if Gumtree is about to be sold… or perhaps not, eBay is notoriously difficult to read.

It may be that eBay interim chief executive officer Scott Schenkel has managed to calm the board with the sale of Stubhub, or Classifieds might be sold of piecemeal to different buyers around the world with the new motors conglomerates retained by eBay. Doubtless we’ll find out more in the New Year.

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