Notes from’s S-1 IPO Filing

AutoTrader Group, Inc., one of Atlanta’s biggest technology success stories over the past decade, filed their S-1 for an IPO yesterday. After massive organic growth from 1997 – 2010, they brought in a private equity group in 2010 and acquired several companies for nearly $1 billion in cash.

Here are notes from the AutoTrader Group, Inc. S-1 filing:

  • 29 million average monthly unique visitors and 3.4 million car listings (pg. 1)
  • Has the largest dealer sales force in the U.S. automotive industry, with over 1,400 sales and support people (pg. 1)
  • Owns Kelley Blue Book ( and reaches 60% of online car buyers (pg. 1)
  • 20,000 car dealers pay a monthly fee to list their cars (pg. 1)
  • Last quarter generated 86% of revenue from Digital Media business (advertising) and 14% of revenues from Software Solutions (dealer inventory management tools) (pg. 2)
  • 9% overlap in visitors between and (pg. 4)
  • 75% of revenue is recurring (pg. 6)
  • Revenues (pg. 12)
    1997 – $1M
    2009 – $629M
    2010 – $730M
    2011 – $1,025M
  • Net income (pg. 12)
    2009 – $10M
    2010 – $49M
    2011 – $68M
  • Most Digital Media revenue comes from dealers advertising used cars (pg. 17)
  • Spent $111 million on TV and radio ads in 2011 (pg. 20)
  • Aren’t allowed to do anything with motorcycles, RVs, heavy trucks, etc due to license agreement for trademark of the name (pg. 21)
  • Google sends ~1/3 of all traffic to and (pg. 23)
  • $884M in debt (pg. 37)
  • Drew $400M from their line of credit in 2012 and paid a $400M dividend to their shareholders (pg. 46)
  • Raised $316M from existing shareholders in 2010 (pg. 64)
  • Acquisitions (pg. 65)
    vAuto – $192.8M in cash and $34.5M in earn out
    HomeAuto – $61.6M in cash
    Kelley Blue Book – $532.4M in cash
    VinSolutions – $134.6M in cash and $13M in earn out
  • Kelley Blue Book added $125.7M in revenues in 2011 (pg. 72)
  • For new car dealers, new car sales represent 16% of gross profits, used cars represent 33% of gross profits, and the remainder comes from services and parts sales (pg. 92)
  • Have spent $780M on marketing initiatives since inception (pg. 97)
  • 3,200 full or part-time employees (pg. 114)
  • Chip Perry, the President and CEO, was the first employee in August 1997 and has lead the company the whole time (pg. 119)

AutoTrader Group is an impressive growth story and I hope their IPO is very successful.

What else? What are your thoughts AutoTrader Group’s S-1 IPO filing.

2 thoughts on “Notes from’s S-1 IPO Filing

  1. I don’t have a deep knowledge of the auto market in the US but at first glance seems to be an IPO to take into account, the company shows good financial performance in the last 3 years, and the growth strategy makes sense.

  2. That’s some awesome growth – I’m surprised to see their bottom line continue such strong growth in light of all the recent expenditures and acquisitions. The fact that 75% of their revenue is recurring highlights their strength with dealers, but also highlights their weakness with private party and their ability to monetize those transactions. Always wondered why you couldn’t shop for motorcycles on the website, great to know why.

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