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Cars.com reportedly being sold in deal that values site at $2.5 billion

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014 - 12:00 am
Last Modified: Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014 - 9:34 am

Cars.com, an automotive-sales website partially owned by The McClatchy Co. of Sacramento, is reportedly being sold in a deal that values the business at nearly $2.5 billion.

Bloomberg and The New York Times, citing anonymous sources, said Monday that media conglomerate Gannett Company Inc. has agreed to buy out McClatchy and the other owners of Cars.com. Gannett, which already owns around 27 percent of the site, would pay $1.8 billion for the portion it doesn’t own.

Bloomberg and the Times said a deal could be announced as early as Tuesday.

McClatchy, which publishes The Sacramento Bee and 28 other newspapers, owns 25.6 percent of Cars.com through its stake in a company called Classified Ventures.

McClatchy’s chief financial officer, Elaine Lintecum, said, “We don’t comment on market rumors.”

Earlier this year, McClatchy received a $147 million payout when Classified Ventures sold its other asset, Apartments.com, for $585 million.

Founded 16 years ago, Cars.com is one of the largest car-buying sites on the Internet.

Reports first surfaced in April that Classified Ventures was interested in selling Cars.com. At the time, it was reported the site could sell for as much as $3 billion.

Given that Gannett already owns 27 percent, the deal reported Monday would value the entire business at nearly $2.5 billion. According to Bloomberg, McClatchy and the other sellers would have five-year agreements with Cars.com that would allow them to sell advertising in their market areas. They would continue to take in profits related to Cars.com, which explains the reduction in the reported sale price.

Besides McClatchy and Gannett, the other owners are Tribune Media Co., A.H. Belo Corp. and Graham Holdings Co.


Call The Bee’s Dale Kasler, (916) 321-1066. Follow him on Twitter @dakasler.

Read more articles by Dale Kasler





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