The Group is to acquire AutoLocate Ltd, an internet business focusing on the car trade market from RCP Consultants Ltd, who will become a strategic technology partner. The UK car market - in which 8 out of 10 consumers buy used cars, which has over 10,000 quality dealers and is worth some £55 billion - represents a significant opportunity for new digital media and e-commerce.
AutoLocate targets a trade audience and by providing software and information sources for all aspects of vehicle sourcing, trading, disposal and sale, the company enables dealers to leverage the opportunities of the Internet. Emap will acquire nominal net assets.
AutoLocate will re-enforce Emap's dominant on and offline publishing position in the UK automotive trade sector, particularly the fleet and contract hire sector where Fleet NewsNet and CAP are positioned. Emap's portfolio also includes Fleet News, the leading fleet industry newspaper, and Automotive Management, the leading trade magazine in the franchised dealer sector.
These established automotive assets will provide AutoLocate with new communication channels to dealers, manufacturers and fleet operators, as well as potential advertising and marketing support and considerable new content to attract dealers. Together AutoLocate and CAP already have electronic information products in over 30% of the UK dealer distribution points.
Emap's powerful footprint in the consumer arena, particularly its network of local radio, and automotive portfolio, which includes Car and Classic Cars magazines give this new entity a powerful start in delivering consumer leads to the trade.
AutoLocate has already signed up 230 dealers in the last 12 months, and has arrangements in place with Freeserve, Exchange & Mart and the AA. Further non-Emap consumer partnership deals will be announced shortly.
Revenues from the AutoLocate business will be derived from dealer subscriptions, commissions from vehicle trading between fleet owners and dealers and intra-dealers, and commission from affiliated consumer portals, including advertising.
Commenting on Emap's latest digital investment, Paul Keenan, Chief Executive of Emap Digital said: "As with our other digital investments, AutoLocate complements our existing offline businesses and leverages our established relationships within the automotive market place. The acquisition of this e-commerce model will provide us with new revenue streams in a market which is very large and which we know well.
"AutoLocate recognises the importance of the UK dealer distribution network and will help those dealers to reach the widest possible Internet audience whilst improving the quality of the buying experience for their customers. There are multiple opportunities to generate revenue in this market place. This acquisition is part of a process which will deliver significant scale and growth to what is one of our strongest network positions."