Gannett may partner with private equity firms to buyout Cars.com

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Newspaper company Gannett Co may partner with private equity firms to buyout Cars.com for a deal that could be worth $3 billion, according to Reuters. Gannett, the parent company of USA Today, is one of the five newspaper publishers that has backed Classified Ventures. Classified is an entity that owns Cars.com, a popular website that allows people to buy and sell cars on the Internet.

Launched in 1998, Cars.com lets users compare prices, models, and reviews of auto dealers. Classified Ventures has not yet solicited any bids for Cars.com. Classified Ventures is also owned by AH Belo Corp, McClatchy Co, Tribune Co, and Graham Holdings.  Classified sold Apartments.com to the CoStar Group for $585 million, which left Cars.com as the only Classified Ventures property.

Gannett is one of the largest U.S. newspaper chains, but it has been diversifying its revenue streams over the last year. For example, Gannnett acquired Belo Corp. last year for $1.5 billion. This acquisition nearly doubled Gannett’s broadcast TV holdings to over 40 stations. Local TV stations are more profitable than newspapers. Gannet publishes 82 newspapers in the U.S. and owns a stake in CareerBuilder.com.

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