BEIJING, Nov. 2, 2012 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Bitauto Holdings Limited ("Bitauto" or the "Company") (NYSE: BITA), a leading provider of Internet content and marketing services for China's fast-growing automotive industry, today announced that certain existing pre-IPO shareholders of the Company entered into definitive agreements with AutoTrader Group, Inc., operator of the largest digital automotive marketplace in the United States.
Pursuant to these agreements, AutoTrader Group has agreed to purchase 9 million ordinary shares, representing an approximately 21.8% stake in the Company, from the selling shareholders for a total purchase price of US$58.5 million in a private transaction. Concurrently with AutoTrader Group's signing of the definitive agreements, Bitauto's senior management team, namely, Mr. William Bin Li, chairman and chief executive officer, Mr. Jingning Shao, president, Mr. Andy Xuan Zhang, chief financial officer, and Mr. Weihai Qu, senior vice president, also entered into definitive agreements with a pre-IPO shareholder of the Company pursuant to which they agreed to purchase an approximately 2.4% stake in the Company from the selling shareholder for a total purchase price of US$6.5 million. The senior management team funded the purchase through a four-year term loan from AutoTrader Group.
The share purchase and sale transactions are expected to close in November 2012, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions."We are delighted that AutoTrader Group will become an important strategic investor in Bitauto," said Mr. William Bin Li, chairman and chief executive officer of Bitauto. "AutoTrader Group's leadership as operator of the largest digital automotive marketplace in the United States makes them an ideal partner for Bitauto. By bringing together leaders in the two largest automobile markets in the world, I am confident that this cooperation will create significant cooperative opportunities and drive value for both companies in the long term." "AutoTrader Group's investment in Bitauto aligns our group of companies with China's leading online automotive site," said Chip Perry, chief executive officer of AutoTrader Group. "This investment strengthens our portfolio of companies and establishes the foundation for AutoTrader's future growth and learning opportunities in emerging markets." About Bitauto Holdings Limited Bitauto Holdings Limited (NYSE: BITA) is a leading provider of Internet content and marketing services for China's fast-growing automotive industry. The Company's bitauto.com and taoche.com (formerly ucar.cn) websites provide consumers with up-to-date new and used automobile pricing information, specifications, reviews and consumer feedback. The Company also distributes its dealer customers' automobile pricing and promotional information through its partner websites, including major portals and search engines operated by Baidu, Tencent, and Netease, as well as social networking websites. Bitauto manages its businesses in three segments, namely bitauto.com business, taoche.com business and digital marketing solutions business. The Company's bitauto.com business provides subscription services to new automobile dealers that enable them to list pricing and promotional information on the Company's bitauto.com website as well as partner websites and search engines. The Company also provides advertising services to dealers and automakers on its bitauto.com website. The Company's taoche.com business provides listing services to used automobile dealers that enable them to display used automobile inventory information on the Company's taoche.com website and partner websites. The Company also provides advertising services to used automobile dealers and automakers with certified pre-owned automobile programs on its taoche.com website. The Company's digital marketing solutions business provides automakers with one-stop digital marketing solutions, including website creation and maintenance, online public relations, online marketing campaigns and advertising agent services.