NEW YORK – Cox Enterprises Inc., the media holding company, agreed to buy back a 25 percent stake in AutoTrader Group from Providence Equity Partners, restoring its full ownership of the e-commerce business.
Providence, a private-equity firm, had acquired the stake in 2010 to help boost growth at AutoTrader, which runs the sites AutoTrader.com and KBB.com. Cox will now own 98 percent of the business, with the rest held by current and former employees, according to a statement made Friday. Terms weren’t disclosed, though the Wall Street Journal pegged the stake at $1.8 billion.
Since Providence took its stake in AutoTrader, the business has acquired related services such as Kelley Blue Book, Haystak Digital Marketing and HomeNet Automotive, helping it reach 62 percent of people who are in the market to buy a car, according to Cox. AutoTrader also sells advertising and software to more than 27,000 dealers.
Cox Enterprises, a closely held company in Atlanta, owns the cable company Cox Communications Inc., as well as Cox Media Group Inc., which operates the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and TV and radio stations.