N.V. Holdingmaatschappij De Telegraaf and Pon Holdings B.V. take strategic position in Autobytel Holland

This week, an agreement in principal has been signed between N.V. Holdingmaatschappij De Telegraaf en Pon Holdings B.V. to form Autobytel Holland (v.o.f.). Each company will own 37.5% of the joint venture. An affiliate of Autobytel.com (Nasdaq: ABTL) will have an option to purchase up to 25%.
N.V. Holdingmaatschappij De Telegraaf and Pon Holdings B.V. have taken a strategic position in Autobytel Holland in order to take advantage of the Internet opportunities to the automotive branch. The last couple of years, Holland’s Internet penetration has been increasing significantly. Currently it is over 36% and is projected to exceed 50% in the year 2000.
Both parties in Autobytel Holland form a strong combination. Pon Holdings B.V. as a leading automotive company with more than fifty years of experience; N.V. Holdingmaatschappij De Telegraaf as a reputable media and publishing company with a lot of experience in Internet services and publishing, amongst others, the most extensive used car classifieds section. Autobytel Holland is a valuable asset to the already existing website of De Telegraaf and Autovisie, which will continue to be developed independently.
Launched in March 1995, American Autobytel.com is presently the internationally-branded, acknowledged leader in online automotive commerce. Also Autobytel.com licensees have successful sites in the United Kingdom, Sweden and Japan. For example, Autobytel United Kingdom (established April 1999) has processed over 10,000 purchase requests in its first eight months of business.
Autobytel is based on a ‘one-stop-shopping’ concept. With Autobytel, consumers can easily and free of charge gather and compare extensive and practical information on new and used cars of all makes. All makes and types can be compared on price and quality in a transparent way. Furthermore, Autobytel is also convenient because the customer can submit a purchase request, which is sent to the nearest dealer who will contact the customer soon thereafter. Additionally, Autobytel gives a clear overview of and insight into automotive related consumer services and products (including financing, insurance and leasing).
Autobytel Holland is scheduled to be established in February 2000 and will be launched mid 2000. Autobytel Holland will be lead by Dries van der Vossen (presently Managing Director of GE Capital Fleet Services Benelux). He is experienced in guiding start-up companies from inception to success and brings a deep background in the Dutch automotive industry to Autobytel Holland. Furthermore, Mr. Van der Vossen has a profound understanding of new automotive marketing trends and is strongly committed to the potential of intermediate customer services strengthened by the Internet.