Autobytel Revved Up

Shares surge after the online car marketer announced an agreement with AOL.
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Shares of

Autobytel

(ABTL)

surged 20% in late trading Thursday after the online auto marketer announced a partnership with

Time Warner's

(TWX)

AOL and said it is exploring options for two businesses.

Autobytel, which owns car-buying sites like Car.com, Autoweb.com and Autoahorros.com, said the AOL deal will make its network the exclusive AOL channel for consumers looking to find new-vehicle price quotes from local dealers.

Separately, Autobytel said it may sell its RPM and AIC businesses as part of its focus on the Internet and media. AIC, or automotive information center, provides marketing data and technology used by automakers for their Web sites and product planning. RPM, short for retention performance marketing, is a service for dealers to help send reminders and marketing materials to customers.

"Both RPM and AIC are strong businesses with talented, committed employees and growth potential, and we believe that these businesses may be best served through alignment with companies that will allow them to reach their fullest value," said Autobytel President and CEO Jim Riesenbach.

Autobytel also reported a wider loss for its third quarter. The company's loss swelled to $7.9 million, or 19 cents a share, from $287,000, or 1 cent a share, a year earlier. Revenue fell to $28.2 million from $30.6 million.

Still, shares of the company were surging 65 cents to $3.90 in after-hours trading.