US newspapers hope for Auto Trader-style windfall with $3bn classifieds site sale

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A consortium of five US newspaper companies including Newsquest parent company Gannett is hoping for a Guardian/Auto Trader-style windfall with plans to sell the classifieds website cars.com.
 
Reuters reports that the joint venture has hired an investment bank to put the site up for sale with an asking price of $3bn and is in talks with potential bidders including private equity firms.
 
The joint operation was set up in 1997 by Gannett, AH Belo, McClatchy, Tribune and Graham Holdings with the aim of helping newspaper publishers tap into the booming online classifieds market.
 
The consortium has already announced plans to sell the online property site Apartments.com for $585m.
 
Last week Guardian Media Group completed the sale of its stake in Trader Media Group, the publisher of Auto Trader, to private equity firm Apax.

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