KAR Global completes $450M purchase of California auction company

Carmel-based KAR Global on Thursday said it completed a $450 million acquisition of Carwave Holdings LLC, a dealer-to-dealer auto auction company that does business primarily in the West.

The closing comes about two months after KAR—which sells wholesale used cars through online and in-person auctions—announced it would acquire the company with the goal of strengthening its ability to “meet the needs of dealers in any market at any time.”

Escondido, California-based Carwave, founded in 2009, serves franchised and independent dealers in California and has been expanding into other states, including Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and Texas.

Carwave co-founders John Lauer and Bill Lauer have remained with the company, which will continue to operate out of its California headquarters.

The Carwave online platform lets dealers wholesale trade-ins and other vehicles directly from their lots and quickly source new inventory from anywhere.

KAR has been in acquisition mode. In May, it acquired the company that makes a cloud-based software called Velocicast that is the backbone of KAR’s live, online auto auctions.

In September 2020, it announced a $425 million acquisition of BacklotCars Inc., a rapidly growing Kansas City, Missouri-based firm that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide dealers with personalized recommendations for purchases.

Also, this spring, KAR announced it was the major investor in a $15 million funding round for Israel-based company—Ravin AI—that makes artificial intelligence products that aid in vehicle inspections.

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