TrueCar Files for IPO, Looks To Raise $125 Million

Apr 04, 2014 03:58 PM EDT | Jordan Ecarma

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The online car industry is going public.

TrueCar, an auto-pricing website whose users purchased more than 400,000 cars last year, filed for an initial public offering on Friday seeking to raise $125 million, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Using the site is free, and TrueCar makes a profit from ad revenue and dealer subscriptions. The company reported a 67 percent increase in profit to $134 million for the year through December 31, Reuters reported. TrueCar came back from a net loss of $25 million during the period, down from $74.5 million year-over-year.

The company's common stock will be listed on the NASDAQ under the symbol "TRUE," according to Reuters. TrueCar hasn't stated how many shares will be for sale or what their price will be.

The Santa Monica, Calif.-based site connects its users to a network of 7,000 certified dealers. From its founding in 2005, TrueCar worked to get users the lowest possible price, tracking vehicle purchases and showing consumers the highest and lowest prices paid for particular cars in their locale.

But in 2012, dealerships objected to TrueCar's methods, saying that buyers were hunting prices so low that they couldn't make any money. So the website shifted its marketing focus and began working more closely with dealers.

TrueCar mostly focuses on new car purchases, but in the IPO filing, the company announced its intention to bring in new services, WSJ reported. In one example, TrueCar is looking to provide a service called TrueTrade, which will give users an estimated daily market value for cars they own as well as a guaranteed trade-in price.

Among other investments, TrueCar received a $30 million investment in December from Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's Vulcan Capital.

The move seeking an IPO illustrates the rise of the online component to car-buying as sites like TrueCar become more prevalent.

"We're thrilled that TrueCar has filed for an IPO. This is clear evidence there is tremendous opportunity to improve the existing car shopping and buying experience," Paul Nadjarian, founder and CEO of car-tracking website Mojo Motors, told Auto World News in an email.

Similar to TrueCar, Mojo Motors helps users to track car prices and make informed purchases. The Mojo Motors site, which focuses on the used car market and sends mobile alerts to customers about prices, is working to expand nationally this year, Nadjarian said. 

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