Construction equipment auctioneer and distributor Ritchie bros has acquired online used equipment and auction marketplace IronPlanet in a deal worth approximately US$758.5 million (€679 million).

Founded in 1999, US-based IronPlanet sells machinery primarily through online platforms, with weekly online auctions. In 2015, it sold around US$787 million (€704 million) worth of equipment.

Collectively, Ritchie Bros. and IronPlanet sold over US$3 billion (€2.7 billion) worth of equipment in the 12 months to 30 June, 2016.

Ritchie Bros CEO Ravi Saligram said the deal was the next logical step in the company’s expansion, providing greater scale and choice for customers.

“Together with IronPlanet, we will create a combined company of trusted brands with the ability to provide customers around the world with a greater number of choices and platforms to sell, buy and list equipment when, where and how they want – whether onsite or online.

"Our commitment to diversifying our offerings is directly in line with customer demand for multiple selling and buying solutions,” he said.

And Gregory Owens, chairman and CEO of IronPlanet, added, “IronPlanet has built a leading online marketplace and technology platform across a number of verticals, and when combined with Ritchie Bros.’ strength in live onsite auctions, will prove to be a powerful combination in driving value for our customers.”

Ritchie Bros said it had secured employment agreements with key executives from IronPlanet who it said would join its management team. It said Mr Owens had agreed to join the combined company’s executive committee upon closing.

Caterpillar partnership

On completion of the IronPlanet acquisition, Ritchie Bros said it would also start an initial five-year strategic alliance with manufacturer Caterpillar which would see it become Caterpillar’s preferred global partner for live onsite and online auctions.

Caterpillar owns a minority stake in IronPlanet.

Ritchie Bros said the new deal would see it provide Caterpillar and its dealers with access to proprietary auction platforms, software and other services, enhancing the exchange of information and services between customers, dealers and suppliers.

It said the new strategic alliance between Ritchie Bros. and Caterpillar replaced and expanded on existing agreements in place between Caterpillar, its dealers and IronPlanet.

Rob Charter, group president with responsibility for Caterpillar’s Customer and Dealer Support, said, “This alliance will ensure that more used equipment buyers have access to our best‐in‐class products, digital offerings and world class customer support through the Cat dealer network.

“Ritchie Bros. and Caterpillar are beginning an exciting new chapter in our relationship to better serve our global customers.”

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