inks $126m deal

Online car classifieds website to take 49.9 per cent stake in South Korean group.

Online automotive business (CRZ) has inked a $126 million deal to buy a 49.9% stake in a South Korean online car classifieds website.

In a statement, Carsales managing director Greg Roebuck said the acquisition of a stake in the online assets of SK Encar was an important step in its long-term growth and internationalisation.

"With Korea joining interests in Brazil, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, China and New Zealand, Carsales has a significant and growing international portfolio," Mr Roebuck said.

Carsales will pay around 121 billion South Korean won, or $A126 million, for the stake, funded by existing cash reserves and a non-syndicated debt facility with National Australia Bank.

Currently, SK Encar owns online assets including the website as well as physical car dealership assets.

Under the transaction, the online assets will be transferred into a new company, named SK, and Carsales will acquire 49.9% of this new entity.

Carsales said the target generates positive earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation, and it expects the acquisition to be earnings per share accretive in fiscal 2014.

The deal remains subject to Korean regulatory approvals and is expected to close by June 30.

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