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JOHANNESBURG - Leading global online classifieds group OLX has merged with AutoTrader following the approval of the transaction by the Competition Commission.

The companies said the deal demonstrated their intention to invest in the economy and improve their services by offering a better portfolio of trading platforms to South Africans. OLX is owned by the JSE-listed Naspers, which has a market capitalisation of more than R1.5 trillion. The company also carries the AutoTrader offering.

According to the deal, which was announced yesterday, AutoTrader will remain a separate brand, however, with access to world-class technology hubs and expertise. “This will undoubtedly bring renewed energy and focus to drive the growth of this platform even further,” the commission said.

AutoTrader chief executive George Mienie said they brought to the deal expertise from the niche verticals of car, truck, commercial, agriculture, bike and leisure. “We are excited to work with the OLX Group that is part of a global company. Our customers can stand to benefit substantially from investment in product innovation as a result,” said Mienie.

He said their vehicle shoppers could look forward to continuous improvements to further enhance consumer experience through “investment in online vehicle shopping tools”.

On its website, AutoTrader says it has the largest automotive marketplace in South Africa and gets more than 4.5million visits each month with over 70 000 vehicle searches.

Innovation

Sjoerd Nikkelen, OLG group general manager for Africa, Middle East and Asia, said based on what they saw in other global markets, the pace of innovation in the vehicle buying and selling space “is picking up and global consumer facing technology platforms are entering”.

“This partnership will give us the scale to lead this coming wave of innovation and disruption, in which deep data skills will allow for our propositions to dealers and consumers to become fundamentally more valuable and of higher convenience,” said Nikkelen.

- BUSINESS REPORT