Boat-buying Web sites change hands

Author:
Publish date:

Boats.com and YachtWorld.com now part of TraderOnline group

Boats.com and YachtWorld.com now part of TraderOnline group

Two of the recreational marine industry’s largest Internet operations are poised to get even bigger with the acquisition of boats.com and its YachtWorld.com affiliate by Trader Publishing Co.

Trader Publishing Co., headquartered in Norfolk, Va., is owned equally by Cox Enterprises Inc. and Landmark Communications Inc. Its TraderOnline.com Web sites serve buyers and sellers in the new and used vehicle and vessel marketplace, including www.boattraderonline.com. Trader also owns more than 700 print publication titles, including Soundings, SoundingsTrade Only, Boat Trader and Yacht Trader.

The deal, announced Sept. 28, brings under one umbrella the industry’s largest Internet boats-for-sale databases. Terms of the purchase weren’t disclosed.

“Acquiring these successful online products and service businesses gives us a tremendous opportunity to increase the value we provide to the professional marine community,” says Nick Petsos, general manager of TraderOnline.com.

Lake Forest, Ill.-based boats.com Inc., which includes the www. boats.com and www.yacht world.com sites, provides marketing services to original equipment manufacturers, dealers, brokers and service companies throughout the marine industry. It has the exclusive Internet endorsements of both the National Marine Manufacturers Association and the Marine Retailers Association of America.

“The unique character of Yacht World.com allows us to invest in expanding and enhancing the services provided to the brokerage community, while the leadership position of boats.com and its relationships with its boatbuilder and dealer customer base will enable us to deliver more services to the new-boat industry,” says Petsos.

Petsos says there will be no disruption in operations or changes in service to boats.com and YachtWorld.com. He says both will continue to operate with autonomy.

Boats.com co-founder Paul Rabe, who served as its president and CEO, has left the company, according to Petsos and boats.com spokesman James Nolan.

Nolan says boats.com had been owned by a group of venture capitalists who specialize in starting up and growing new companies. Once those companies have matured in their respective markets, the venture capitalists tend to sell them, he says.