Guardian seeks to unite Auto Trader group

- The Guardian Media Group is in talks to unite its half of the Auto Trader magazine group with that owned by venture capital firm, BC Partners, to create a classified publishing group valued at around £1 billion.

- The Guardian Media Group is in talks to unite its half of the Auto Trader magazine group with that owned by venture capital firm, BC Partners, to create a classified publishing group valued at around £1 billion.

Both companies currently operate Auto Trader, a classified advertising motoring magazine, in different parts of the country. A merger of the two would create a new company to be called Trader Media Group.

As well as the eponymous Auto Trader title the group would also own titles such as Bike Trader, Top Marques and Auto Freeway. In all the Trader Media Group would comprise a portfolio of more than 790 titles with a total weekly circulation of more than one million. Chief among its other assets would be the Auto Trader's website, autotrader.co.uk, which is one of the UK's biggest auto sites chalking up 16.8 million page impressions in April.

The current ownership situation dates back a number of years to when the Guardian started a classified car magazine at the same time as John Madejski launched Auto Trader. To help expand the business quickly Madejski sold the rights to the Guardian to publish the title in different regions of the country.

Three years ago Madejski sold his Auto Trader titles to BC Partners for £170m.

The new company is expected to be jointly owned by the two companies and would likely float within the next couple of years to give the venture capitalist firm a clear exit.



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