Autobytel ( ABTL) hired Merrill Lynch to find a buyer.

The Irvine, Calif., car marketing firm said Merrill would assist it in exploring strategic alternatives, "which may include potential acquisitions of, or mergers with, complementary businesses, as well as a potential sale of the company."

"Autobytel is a pioneer in Internet automotive marketing," said CEO Rick Post. "We believe that, in order to continue to innovate in this competitive and constantly evolving industry, we need to achieve greater scale. Accordingly, we have decided to explore strategic alternatives with the goal of maximizing shareholder value and providing best of breed services for our customers."

Trading of Autobytel shares was halted late Monday after falling 3 cents to $4.52.

More from Stocks

Jim Cramer on U.S.-China Trade: The Media Has it Wrong

Jim Cramer on U.S.-China Trade: The Media Has it Wrong

To Win at Trade the U.S. Must Act and Behave Like China

To Win at Trade the U.S. Must Act and Behave Like China

Dow Rises Sharply as U.S.-China Trade Tensions Thaw

Dow Rises Sharply as U.S.-China Trade Tensions Thaw

Video: Jim Cramer on Tariffs, the Market Rally, Caterpillar and Micron

Video: Jim Cramer on Tariffs, the Market Rally, Caterpillar and Micron

Why PayPal's CEO Doesn't Fear Amazon Entering Mobile Payments

Why PayPal's CEO Doesn't Fear Amazon Entering Mobile Payments