KAR Flexing Tech Muscle

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KAR Auction Services announced an $80 million expansion of its Carmel headquarters last month. KAR Auction Services announced an $80 million expansion of its Carmel headquarters last month.

An executive with Carmel-based KAR Auction Services Inc. (NYSE: KAR) says the company's acquisition of TradeRev, marks a "transformative moment in the industry." Becca Polak, who leads TradeRev, says the platform allows dealers to launch auctions remotely, potentially doubling the industry's footprint from 10 million to 20 million vehicles per year. Chief Executive Officer Jim Hallett says the move strengthens KAR's position as "a technology company that happens to sell cars."

Polak says the platform allows dealers to launch auctions remotely using a picture, rather than having to physically bring a car to multiple sellers. She says KAR plans to continue bringing the technology to new markets, including California in 2018, growing the company's reach coast-to-coast.

Earlier this month, KAR announced the acquisition of the remaining half of Nth Gen Software Inc., a dealer-to-dealer auction technology platform. The deal is valued at up to $125 million. KAR purchased the first half of the business in 2014 for $30 million. At the time, Hallett said the deal will help KAR maintain a leadership position now that "the digital revolution in remarketing has begun." 

The acquisition came on the heels of September's announcement that KAR would invest $80 million to expand its headquarters in a move expected to create 400 jobs by 2020. The company says the project will create a state-of-the-art campus to house 1,500 workers, and give it room for future growth. Groundbreaking is set for early next year. KAR plans to move in during the second half of 2019.

KAR has around 300 locations around the world and about 17,500 employees. Hallett says the company sold more than 5 million vehicles last year in 110 countries.

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