“I’m very excited to continue to lead Bring a Trailer as we partner with Hearst Autos. We can now keep all of the best parts of the business intact while enhancing our capabilities to address our huge product demand and user traffic growth.”
—Randy Nonnenberg, BaT Co-Founder and CEO
“Bring a Trailer has set the bar for building a community around a passion point. What Randy and (co-founder) Gentry (Underwood) have developed is truly special, and what they deliver to their audience is so much more than transactional. They’ve built a family, developed trust and have become an invaluable part of the automotive landscape.”
—Matt Sanchez, CEO Hearst Autos
It is not surprising that Bring a Trailer has sold. What is surprising is the buyer—Hearst. The venerable media company owns magazines like Cosmopolitan and Esquire, newspapers like the San Francisco Chronicle, TV channels like A&E Networks, and has a sizable ownership stake in ESPN. This deal may be less about Hearst entering the collector car market and more about the unique content BaT generates. Buying and selling cars online generates endless user-generated content—some of which is quite interesting and engaging. Unlike other content websites, BaT has a real business model underpinning it—the site generates substantial revenue from its auction transactions. It will be interesting to see where Hearst takes BaT in the future. Hopefully, this takeover will not end like GM’s acquisition of Saab. We will provide a much deeper analysis of this transaction in the upcoming issue of Sports Car Market. (Photo of Hearst Tower courtesy of Wikipedia)
HEARST AUTOS ACQUIRES BRING A TRAILER DIGITAL AUCTION PLATFORM
NEW YORK, NY (June 25, 2020)—Hearst Autos today announced the acquisition of Bring a Trailer, a digital auction platform and auto enthusiast community. The announcement was made by Hearst Magazines President Troy Young, Hearst Autos CEO Matt Sanchez, and Bring a Trailer Co-founders Randy Nonnenberg and Gentry Underwood.
Bring a Trailer curates classic, collector, and enthusiast vehicles submitted by its audience for auction. This knowledgeable community of more than 415,000 users and more than 175,000 registered bidders vets each vehicle, giving confidence to potential buyers. The name of the platform is a reference to the familiar shorthand in classified listings urging buyers to “Bring a trailer!” for non-operational projects, race cars and Concours show vehicles.
“Bring a Trailer represents another step in the evolution of Hearst Magazines, one that connects passion points to content and now, marketplaces,” Young said. “At its core, Bring a Trailer is about curation, which is what our brands have always been about.”
“Bring a Trailer has set the bar for building a community around a passion point,” Sanchez said. “What Randy and Gentry have developed is truly special, and what they deliver to their audiences so much more than transactional. They’ve built a family, developed trust, and have become an invaluable part of the automotive landscape. We’re excited to welcome Bring a Trailer into Hearst Autos and develop the resources, tools, technology and partnerships to support and grow this iconic business.”
Bring a Trailer will continue to run as an independent business, led by Nonnenberg and his team. No personnel changes are planned, and operations will continue from the existing San Francisco, CA, headquarters.
“I’m very excited to continue to lead Bring a Trailer as we partner with Hearst Autos,” Nonnenberg said. “We can now keep all of the best parts of the business intact while enhancing our capabilities to address our huge product demand and user traffic growth. I had Road & Track magazine pages hung on my walls as a kid and they helped shape my automotive passion. This is really an amazing next step in the Bring a Trailer journey, and it will allow us to solidify our tech foundation so that we can add new features and better serve the automotive enthusiast community.”
Hearst Autos will expand and support Bring a Trailer’s offerings, community and transactions through investments in robust technology and new products and features. In addition, Hearst Autos’ iconic brands Car and Driver, Road & Track and Autoweek will add collaborative benefits to Bring a Trailer, including editorial content and insights as well as business and sponsorship opportunities.
About Hearst Autos
As the leading automotive media organization in the world, Hearst Autos connects car buyers, owners and enthusiasts to the information they need, the experiences they crave, and the stories they love—while connecting automotive marketers to this audience of unrivaled breadth and diversity. Hearst Autos’ in-house brands include Car and Driver, Road & Track, R&T, Canadian Blackbook, Autoweek, and R&T Crew, a subscription box for car-loving kids.
About Hearst Magazines
Hearst Magazines’ portfolio of more than 25 powerful brands in the U.S. inspire and entertain audiences across all media platforms. Hearst Magazines’ print and digital assets reach nearly 165 million readers and site visitors each month—70% of all millennials and 69% of all Gen Z, age 18+ (source: comScore/MRI 1-20/S19). The company publishes over 300 editions and 245 websites around the world and attracts more readers of monthly magazines than any other publisher.