Used Vehicle Auctioneer KAR Files for IPO

NEW YORK (Reuters) – KAR Holdings Inc, which runs auctions for used vehicles, plans to go public and raise as much as $400 million, according to a regulatory filing on Monday.

KAR, based in Carmel, Indiana, runs 214 physical auction sites and several websites that facilitate the sale of cars unloaded by dealers, repossessed vehicles and “salvage” vehicles, such as those that have been damaged and declared a total loss by insurance companies but then repaired.

It does not take possession of the vehicles, but earns a fee from the buyer and seller in each sale.

KAR listed EBay Inc’s (EBAY.O) eBay Motors used car auction website among its competitors.

In 2008, KAR facilitated the sale of 3.2 million used and salvage vehicles and currently has 150,000 registered buyers according to the prospectus it filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

KAR plans to use the IPO’s proceeds to pay down debt and pay fees to its equity owners, which include private equity firms Kelso & Co., Parthenon Capital, and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners (GS.N).

KAR warned in the filing the tight consumer credit market could hamper demand for used cars.

Net revenues fell 5.3 percent to $881.6 million in the first half of 2009, while net income from continuing operations more than tripled to $9.3 million from $3 million over the same period.

The prospectus did not indicate when KAR might try to price the IPO.

KAR is the eighth company to file for a U.S. IPO in September, as companies continue to rush to submit paperwork to go public with markets now more hospitable. There were 20 filings in July and August combined and only five in the first six months of 2009.

The IPO will be underwritten by Goldman Sachs & Co. (Reporting by Phil Wahba; editing by Andre Grenon)