Cox investment values AutoTrader at $7B as car-selling sites gain strength

Acting as a middleman between potential car buyers and dealerships has become quite a lucrative business. "How lucrative," you ask? Well, a company called Cox Enterprises has just purchased a 25-percent stake in AutoTrader at a price of $1.8 billion. With the help of some simple maths, that works out to a rough value for the car-listing site of $7 billion. In most circles, that'd be called a "helluva lotta money."

And in fact, it's a figure that is only likely to increase. According to a story from The Wall Street Journal, the improving economy and AutoTrader's well-known reputation means it's one of a range of middlemen websites that are enjoying very solid results as part of an improving economy. According to a report from Reuters, AutoTrader was enjoying double-digit sales growth as of September, with $1.2 billion in sales through the first three quarters of 2013, which ended up being the industry's best year for auto sales since 2007.

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