Autobytel Buys iDriveonline

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Internet automotive marketing services company Autobytel Inc., Irvine, CA, announced a deal last week to acquire iDriveonline Inc., a provider of customer loyalty and retention marketing programs for the automotive industry.


The purchase price is $11.7 million.


IDriveonline will merge into a new, wholly owned subsidiary of Autobytel and be renamed Real Performance Marketing Inc. The transaction is to close in April.


The acquisition would expand Autobytel's market share in the growing dealership service reminder business, an area where the company competes with its Retention Performance Marketing product.


The deal combines Retention Performance Marketing's technology platform with iDriveonline's applications, including an online prospecting and retention tool, enhanced data and segmentation tools and improved dealer-reporting capabilities. Because of these features, iDriveonline has generated higher monthly fees per dealer than RPM.


The two services are used by 650 dealers nationwide. Autobytel anticipates that 1,300 dealers will use the combined product by year's end.


IDriveonline, Houston, was established in April 2000 and has about 30 employees.


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