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Cox Automotive to buy Xtime for $325M, enters service software business

Cox Automotive has agreed to pay $325 million in cash to buy Xtime, a leading provider of service scheduling and workflow software to dealerships, the companies announced today.

The deal is expected to be completed in the next few days, said Keith Jezek, software division president at Cox Automotive.

With the acquisition, Cox Automotive will be able to offer software for the back end of dealerships to go along with a suite of software to help dealers attract and retain sales customers, Jezek said.

Other Cox Automotive brands are auto shopping sites AutoTrader.com and Kelley Blue Book, the vAuto inventory management unit, VinSolutions for customer retention software and Haystak digital marketing.

Jezek said the addition was a natural because fixed operations account for 55 to 60 percent of dealership profits on average, and dealerships are furiously trying to get back customers they’ve been losing to independent repair shops.

The automakers, Jezek said, also see a direct “correlation between service satisfaction and repeat car sales.”

Xtime has about 6,000 dealership customers. The company’s software helps dealers manage their service operations through electronic scheduling, marketing and customer check-in.

Xtime processes more than 2.5 million service appointments each month for dealerships that generate about $6 billion annually for the stores, Xtime said in the acquisition release.

Management at Xtime, including Neal East, the co-founder and president, are staying on to run the unit. Cox Automotive bought the company from the founders as well as a number of investment firms, including Bessemer Venture Partners, Keating Capital, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, RPM Ventures and Saints Capital.

The purchase is the latest in a series of acquisitions on which Cox Automotive has spent more than $3 billion during the past five years, Jezek said.

Cox Automotive is on pace to generate about $5 billion in revenue in 2014, Jezek said. Manheim, the giant vehicle-auction company, is the largest unit of Cox Automotive.

Cox Automotive is part of Cox Enterprises in Atlanta, which is slated to post revenue of about $17 billion this year. Other holdings include cable networks and a host of media companies.

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