IHS buying Polk for around $1.4 billion

Article by Anita Panait, on June 11, 2013

IHS Inc. is acquiring auto industry data provider R.L. Polk & Co., for around $1.4 billion. In a statement, HIS said its acquisition of R.L. Polk will be financed by 10 percent of its equity, with the remainder sourced through cash on hand, cash from an existing line of credit and a new bank term loan. The companies did not announce a time frame for finalizing the acquisition deal, which was first disclosed on June 9, 2013.

The privately held R.L. Polk disclosed in March 2013 that it was exploring its options, including a possible sale. Aside from providing vehicle registration data, sales forecasts and tracking of owner loyalty, R.L. Polk also owns used-car history provider Carfax. Chief executive Stephen Polk told Automotive News in an interview that he is committed to making the transition a success for IHS and R.L. Polk's employees. Polk remarked that he is not sure of his subsequent role once the sale is approved, a process that takes around 4 to 6 weeks.

R.L. Polk has been family-owned for over 140 years and Polk is the last family member still involved with the company. Polk remarked that for many years, he had received calls from people interested in acquiring the company.

He also remarked that this was the time to determine how serious people really were, adding that they saw it with IHS. It remains to be seen whether IHS will continue to use the Polk name after the acquisition agreement is finalized. Dan Wilinsky, senior director of global media relations for HIS, told Automotive News that they always evaluate brand names as part of the integration planning process. He added they will “work this out as part of post-close planning with the Polk team." [source: USAToday]

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