Ritchie Bros buys online auctioneer AssetNation

By Murray Pollok10 May 2012

Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers is to acquire AssetNation, Inc, an online auctioneer specialising in the sale of surplus and salvaged assets. Ritchie said the acquisition would enable it to offer new, non-auction services to its customers.

AssetNation is based in Houston, Texas and has offices in Pittsburgh, Mexico City and London, UK, and had gross sales revenues of more than US$100 million last year. Ritchie Bros is paying US$64 million in cash for the business.

Although much smaller than Ritchie Bros - which had gross auction receipts of $3.7 billion last year - AssetNation will give Ritchie e-commerce expertise as well as access to a customer base in sectors including energy, transport fleets, insurance and government.

Ritchie Bros chief executive officer Peter Blake, said Ritchie would use its market knowledge and "unique understanding of the world's equipment owners" to grow AssetNation's business "but also to develop additional solutions that will expand our...market and help us meet the [needs] of a segment of the equipment market that we have not traditionally reached with our unreserved auctions."

Ritchie said the new, non-auction services would be unique in the equipment industry and "provide a transparent and efficient way for the non-auction segment of the market to buy and sell equipment."

The company also said the acquisition would generate growth for its core auction business as well. Mr Blake said "Many of AssetNation's customer relationships exist in industry verticals that are complementary to Ritchie Bros.' core business, particularly in the energy, fleet and distribution, insurance and government sectors. We believe that a combined service offering will satisfy the needs of these customers more effectively."

AssetNation chief executive officer Dave Dawson said the transaction was good for both companies and their customers; "We have invested over 10 years in developing a robust technology platform for online marketplaces and as part of the Ritchie Bros. team, we will develop and launch exciting new buying and selling solutions for equipment owners in the non-auction segment."

AssetNation has 85000 customers in more than 100 countries. In addition to running online auctions, it also arranges 'private label' sales of equipment for individual clients.

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