Cox Enterprises Inc. and Landmark Communications Inc. will end their equal partnership in Trader Publishing Co., a leading publisher of specialty title classified advertising magazines.
Cox will take control of Trader's 341 automotive and light truck titles with a combined weekly circulation of 3.5 million, strengthening its presence in the retail auto sector. The portfolio includes Auto Trader, Auto Mart and Truck Trader.
Also, Cox gains the publications' companion Web sites, including www.automart.com and www.autoextra.com. Landmark will transfer its 26 percent interest in the site at www.autotrader.com, raising Cox's stake to 87.9 percent. AutoTrader.com is a leading auto classifieds site, with 2.8 million vehicle listings from 40,000 dealers and 250,000 private owners. Combined, the Trader auto sites generate 4.2 million visitors a month.
The deal calls for Cox to take ownership of Trader's offices for the auto titles and manage the distribution system for the company's paid publications.
The Trader media properties in Cox's share will become part of a company called Auto Trader Publishing. AutoTrader.com will be part of a new brand called Cox Auto Trader headed by Sanford Schwartz.
For its part, Landmark will take ownership of Trader's non-automotive titles and sites. In that portfolio are Cycle Trader, Boat Trader, RV Trader, For Rent Magazine, Harmon Homes, Employment Guide and Dealer Specialties.
Landmark will manage the distribution of Trader's free publications.
However, Cox and Landmark — both firms with assets in newspapers, television and other media — will form another equally owned joint venture to run Trader's printing plants. Besides sharing production capabilities, Cox and Landmark will help each other with distribution.
Lehman Brothers Inc. advised Cox on this transaction, expected to close soon.
Mickey Alam Khan covers Internet marketing campaigns and e-commerce, agency news as well as circulation for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters