Autobytel Inc., the third-party lead generator for auto dealers and manufacturers, said today it has received an unsolicited buyout bid from software firm Trilogy Enterprises Inc.
Trilogy already owns 7.4 percent of Autobytel and is its second-largest stockholder. It is offering 35 cents per share in cash for Autobytel. The offer is worth about $15 million and expires May 19.
Autobytels stock was trading today at 40 cents. The shares have traded between 22 cents and $2.20 over the past 52 weeks.
Autobytel shares were trading at 27 cents on April 16. But the shares in recent days rose to as high as 45 cents. Trading remained heavy today with more than 500,000 shares trading hands more than four times the usual volume.
We have concluded that Autobytels ability to execute a turnaround and realize significant value for its stockholders is subject to significant and unacceptable risk, said Sean Fallon, senior vice president of Trilogy. We believe that a high-premium, all-cash tender offer is the most effective way to maximize value for all stockholders.
Trilogy, which is based in Austin, Texas, makes software that helps auto companies analyze sales leads.
In a statement, Autobytel said its board of directors was reviewing the offer and would inform shareholders of its position no later than Friday. The Irvine, Calif., company is scheduled to announce its first-quarter earnings on Thursday.
Autobytel reported a net loss of $79.9 million on revenue of $71.1 million in 2008, compared with a net loss of $5.3 million on revenue of $84.3 million in 2007. The 2008 results included a one-time asset writedown of $52.1 million.