Manheim Auctions Inc., the world's largest auto auction company, has made its first European acquisition outside the United Kingdom.
Manheim planned to announce the acquisition of French auction company Societe d'Expertise Agenaise on Saturday, Feb. 6, at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in San Francisco.
The French auction, based in Toulouse, operates three wholesale auto auctions: in Toulouse, Bordeaux and Marseilles. In a preliminary statement, Manheim said it plans to add about seven more auto auctions in France over the next two years through expansion and acquisitions.
'We identified France as a key market with a young auction industry that can be developed into a comprehensive offering for dealers, fleets, lease and rental companies, and manufacturers,' said Manheim President Dennis Berry in the statement.
Atlanta-based Manheim is a subsidiary of Cox Enterprises Inc., also headquartered in Atlanta. Since 1996, Manheim has acquired 18 auctions in the United Kingdom and is branding them with the Manheim name.
In North America, Manheim has 62 auctions. Overall in 1998, it handled more than 6.5 million vehicles with a combined value of more than $35 billion.