Auto Trader has acquired the share capital of Autorama - owner of Vanarama - in a deal worth up to £200 million, subject to regulatory approvals.
Autorama, under its Vanarama brand, is a platform for aggregating leasing deals from multiple funders and OEMs and has sold more than 120,000 vehicles to date.
Auto Trader, which is understood to have paid £150m in cash, then up to £50m in shares based on performance over the next year for the business, says the aquisition will give it the opportunity to build on existing partnership with OEMs, funders and retailers.
Furthermore, it says it will help it meet the demands of the growing number of consumers who might consider leasing their next new vehicle.
In turn, it will enable Vanarama to accelerate its recent expansion, beyond light commercial vehicles, into cars by accessing Auto Trader’s brand, it says.
Nathan Coe, chief executive officer of Auto Trader, said: “To ensure we have the greatest choice of cars to buy online, we could not ignore the growing demand for leasing deals.
“In Vanarama, we have found an industry leading leasing platform that delivers a great consumer experience and significant sales for its partners.
“This acquisition will strengthen our existing leasing business and will enable us to offer both the biggest choice of vehicles and a seamless digital experience from search to sale.
“I am delighted to be welcoming Andy (Alderson, CEO at Vanarama) and his team to the Group.”
Auto Trader believes that there is a large structural opportunity for a new car leasing marketplace driven by the growth in electric vehicles (EVs), new manufacturers entering the UK market, employees opting out of company car schemes and a shift towards new digital distribution models.
Speaking to Fleet News last year, company founder and CEO, Andy Alderson, predicted that, by 2025, the company will be brokering up to 125,000 deals per year – a significant uplift on the 24,000 it expected to achieve last year.
Vanarama is, essentially, a technology company, harnessing the power of its advanced in-house developed software to aggregate the market’s best leasing deals and present them in a consumer-friendly online search.
Its website attracts up to a million visits a month and offers a wholly contactless process that can see a car deal completed in a couple of minutes.
The consumer offer sits alongside a full fleet management provision, supplying businesses of all sizes with vehicles, telematics, driver training and compliance services, as well as insurance.
Fleets are keenly on Vanarama’s radar, currently making up around 20% of the 50,000 live contracts it has, but Alderson believes the traditional company car market is unlikely to present much growth opportunity in the next 12-18 months.
Alderson said: “As the leading aggregator of leasing deals online, we have sold over 120,000 vehicles for our manufacturer, retailer and lease company partners.
“Over the last few years, we have invested significantly in our technical capability to help our partners respond to consumer demand for a digital buying experience.
“We are hugely excited about the prospect of being able to accelerate our growth plans and deliver even more value to our partners as part of the Auto Trader Group.”
Completion of the transaction will be subject to market clearance.