Carmel-based KAR Auction buys Michigan firm for $76M

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Carmel-based vehicle auctioneer KAR Auction Services has acquired a Michigan-based firm for $76 million, KAR announced Tuesday.

Flint Auto Auction is a fully automated, eight-lane auction facility that occupies 60 acres in Flint, Michigan. The site also includes full-service vehicle reconditioning facilities, including body and mechanical shops. It has a 63-year history and serves customers in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and beyond.

The Flint facility will become part of KAR’s Adesa Inc. business unit, a wholesale used-vehicle auction operation. It will operate under the name Adesa Flint.

“Fortifying KAR’s presence in the epicenter of the U.S. automotive industry has been a long-term strategic priority,” KAR CEO and board chairman Jim Hallett said in a news release. “Adesa Flint enhances KAR’s end-to-end remarketing platform in Detroit and positions us to accelerate growth in the very dynamic Midwest marketplace.”

KAR says it intends to retain the Flint facility’s general manager and other key leadership team members. The operation has earned numerous industry recognition awards in recent years, based on its service and performance.

Flint’s trailing 12-month adjusted EBITDA—the company’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization—is approximately $17 million, KAR said in a public filing. KAR reported profit of $214.6 million for its 2015 fiscal year.

“Adesa is a leading brand in the industry, and Flint Auto Auction is very pleased to join their international network of auctions,” Flint Auto Auction President Bill Williams Jr. said in the news release. “Both companies share a culture of innovation and a strong commitment to customer service. Joining the KAR platform will help us meet the demands of our increasingly sophisticated buyers and sellers, many of whom have been with us for generations.”

KAR’s group of companies, including Adesa, Insurance Auto Auctions Inc. and Automotive Finance Corp., employ more than 17,000 employees at 300 locations.

KAR's recent acquisitions have included a $283 million cash deal earlier this year to purchase Brasher's Auto Auctions, a group of eight auctions in Idaho, Oregon, Nevada, Utah and California.

KAR shares dipped slightly in Tuesday morning trading, falling 8 cents to $39.74.


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