Update (4:49 p.m. EST): Updated with closing price, day high and low prices, price change and volume information.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Autobytel Inc.  (ABTL) rose 20.78% to $16.45, up $2.83 from its previous close of $13.62, at the close of the trading day on Tuesday after the company announced that it had acquired AutoUSA, an established leader in Web-based auto leads and service, from AutoNation, Inc. (AN) - Get AutoNation, Inc. ReportThe stock had a volume of 676,021, well above its average of 228,968. It hit a high of $16.60 and a low of $14.32 for the day. The $16.60 figure also represents a one-year high.

According to the Autobytel's statement, it bought the Ft. Lauderdale, Fl.-based company for $10 million in cash, plus "a $1 million, 6% convertible note payable in one lump sum in five years and convertible to Autobytel common stock at a conversion price reflecting a 20% premium over the price of Autobytel's common stock on the date of closing, and warrants giving AutoNation the right to purchase approximately $1 million of Autobytel's common stock at an exercise price reflecting a 5% premium over the price of the stock on the date of closing."

Autobytel, an Irvine, Calif.-based automotive media and marketing services company that offers auto dealers and manufacturers brand and product marketing opportunities, expects the acquisition to increase its reach and influence by growing its new and used car dealer network to more than 5,200 from approximately 3,800.

TheStreet Recommends

TheStreet Ratings team rates AUTOBYTEL INC as a Hold with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate AUTOBYTEL INC (ABTL) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed - some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, solid stock price performance and impressive record of earnings per share growth. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the company's return on equity has been disappointing."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The revenue growth came in higher than the industry average of 9.1%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 23.9%. This growth in revenue appears to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, improving the earnings per share.
  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 160.00% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 263.40% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Regarding the stock's future course, our hold rating indicates that we do not recommend additional investment in this stock despite its gains in the past year.
  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $1.80 million or 23.44% when compared to the same quarter last year. Despite an increase in cash flow, AUTOBYTEL INC's average is still marginally south of the industry average growth rate of 23.65%.
  • Despite currently having a low debt-to-equity ratio of 0.32, it is higher than that of the industry average, inferring that management of debt levels may need to be evaluated further. Even though the debt-to-equity ratio shows mixed results, the company's quick ratio of 2.60 is very high and demonstrates very strong liquidity.
  • The return on equity has improved slightly when compared to the same quarter one year prior. This can be construed as a modest strength in the organization. When compared to other companies in the Internet Software & Services industry and the overall market, AUTOBYTEL INC's return on equity is below that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: ABTL Ratings Report