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Portico Capital Advises DealerRater on its Majority Recapitalization by Great Hill Partners

December 04, 2013
Greewich, CT


Portico Capital Securities LLC is pleased to announce that it served as the exclusive financial advisor to DealerRater on its majority recapitalization by Great Hill Partners. “DealerRater’s industry-leading consumer review platform and dealer reputation management suite represent a compelling long-term growth story,” noted S. Searcy Dryden, General Partner at Portico Capital. “We are delighted to have worked with the Company in securing a terrific partner in Great Hill. We expect this partnership to drive continued product innovation and value creation for both consumers and dealers.”

Below are more details from the Company's press release:

DealerRater Receives Major Growth Equity Investment from Great Hill Partners

DealerRater, the world’s premier car dealer review website, announced today that it has received an equity investment from Great Hill Partners, a Boston-based private equity firm focused on growth companies. Great Hill Partners invested out of its $1.1 billion fourth fund. DealerRater will use the financing to continue its global expansion, accelerate product innovation and invest in additional sales and marketing resources. The company will continue to evaluate strategic acquisition opportunities, with additional equity capital available from Great Hill Partners.

“DealerRater is committed to providing an invaluable and critical point of connection between consumers and automotive dealerships,” said Chip Grueter, Founder and Chief Technology Architect of DealerRater. “The experience and resources of the team at Great Hill Partners will perfectly complement our focus on continued product innovation, category-defining leadership and an engaging consumer experience.”

DealerRater pioneered the category of auto dealer review and online reputation management. To date, the company has collected 1.2 million consumer reviews, representing more reviews than the next five largest competitors combined, making it the de facto industry standard for reputation management within the automotive dealer sector. The company’s website attracts 15 million visitors each year and web pages with the DealerRater brand drive over 48 million unique visits annually.

“DealerRater offers consumers a powerful platform to evaluate the quality and service of auto dealers across North America,” added Mark Taber, a Managing Partner at Great Hill Partners. “We are excited to partner with Chip and his team to continue to build DealerRater into the leading source of reputation management and content marketing in the auto segment.”

With industry-leading consumer review verification processes and unique dealer employee review pages, DealerRater is the leading site for consumers seeking rich content on automobile purchases and servicing. For auto dealers, DealerRater's platform provides a comprehensive suite of reputation management and content marketing solutions including certification, online dashboard and reporting tools and social media / search engine monitoring. All of these tools enable dealerships to maintain a positive presence on the Web, increase traffic to their showroom and websites, reach in-market customers and increase SEO value.

Rafael Cofiño, a Principal at Great Hill, added, “We believe DealerRater has exceptional growth ahead as the company continues to capitalize on the secular offline to online migration of auto advertising. Peer reviews are increasingly important to consumers in their auto buying process and DealerRater’s breadth and depth of review content and trusted brand have made it the leading destination for both consumers and auto dealers.”

With this investment, Mark Taber and Rafael Cofiño have joined DealerRater’s Board of Directors. Further financial terms of this deal were not disclosed.

Portico Capital Securities LLC served as exclusive financial advisor to DealerRater with respect to this transaction.

About DealerRater
DealerRater was founded in 2002 as the first car dealer review website worldwide. DealerRater is the world’s #1 online resource for anyone seeking trusted third-party information on automobile dealerships. DealerRater features nearly 41,000 U.S. and Canadian car dealers, more than 1,200,000 consumer reviews and over 1 million cars for sale. DealerRater attracts more than 15 million consumers every year who visit the site to search for car dealerships, read reviews, write their own descriptive reviews, and find car deals – all for free.

DealerRater is proud to have earned the #137 position on the 2012 Inc. 500 list, an exclusive ranking of the fastest-growing private companies in the United States. DealerRater was also recently awarded a Technology Leadership Award from Dealer Marketing Magazine and a “Top Rated” Reputation Management award in the fourth annual DrivingSales Dealer Satisfaction Awards. For more information, visit www.DealerRater.com or call 800-266-9455.

About Great Hill Partners
Great Hill Partners is a private equity firm that manages more than $2.7 billion in capital to finance the expansion, recapitalization or acquisition of growth companies in a wide range of sectors within the business and consumer services, media, communications and software industries. Great Hill targets investments of $30 million to $150 million. For more information, please visit www.greathillpartners.com.

About Portico Capital Securities, LLC
Portico Capital provides independent strategic and financial advisory services in the areas of mergers & acquisitions (M&A), recapitalizations and capital raisings exclusively to private and public companies in the global information and business services sector. The firm, founded in 2000, has offices in Greenwich, Connecticut and London, England. For more information, please visit http://www.porticocapital.com/.

PORTICO CONTACT
S. Searcy Dryden, General Partner
searcy@porticocapital.com
203.661.7719