Reuters: Gannett looking to bid for full Cars.com ownership

Media company could team up with private equity firm to big for property owned by Classified Ventures, the newspaper backed classified advertising company

The news service Reuters is reporting that Gannett may bid on Cars.com, possibly with the help of a private equity partner.

Cars.com is a division of Classified Ventures, which itself is owned by Belo Corp., Gannett Co. Inc., The McClatchy Co., Tribune Co. and Graham Holdings Co. Recently Classified Ventures sold off Apartments.com which provided a healthy pay day for its newspaper owners. Any purchase of Cars.com by one of the current owners might be considered discounted as that company would get a piece of the price back after the sale. The Tribune Company owns the largest share of the company, just slightly more than Gannett, but much more than Belo.

The sales price is estimated to be up to $3 billion – and though that seems high to me, it might be doable with a PE firm involved (after all, they live off fees and selling the property after a set period of time, often to another PE).

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