Auto Trader Group (Company)

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Auto Trader Group Limited formerly, Trader Media Group (TMG) until 2014[1] is a British-based publishing company, specialising in classified display advertising. It is fully owned by Apax Partners, which purchased the 50.1% of the company they did not previously own from its joint venture partner Guardian Media Group in January 2014.[2]

The group's 72 titles, which have a combined circulation of more than one million copies per week, include the well known motoring titles Auto Trader, Bike Trader, Truck Trader, Top Marques, the boat focused Marine Trader Media, as well as the UK's largest circulating free-ads title AdTrader. The group also has publications in Ireland, Italy and the Netherlands.


"Trader Publishing" was started in the United States by Stuart W. Arnold, who sold the company years later to Cox Media Group.

After a holiday to the United States, John Madejski, brought the idea behind "Trader Publishing" to the UK, by forming Hurst Publishing with business partner Paul Gibbons in 1977. Hurst launched Thames Valley Trader that same year, and then Southern Auto Trader in 1981.

In 1983, Guardian Media Group approached Hurst Publishing, with intentions of launching similar branded titles in the North of England, rather than competing head to head. Gradually, a group of classified advertising titles evolved that were either wholly owned by Hurst Publishing or by Guardian Media Group, or jointly owned by the two organisations. From 1988 all automotive titles were branded Auto Trader. The group continued to expand, and in 1995 launched Auto Trader in both Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland. Separately, in 1994-96 David Owen Smith launched Top Marques, followed by other national titles including Bike Trader and Truck Trader.

In July 1998, the two partners in Hurst Publishing sold part of their business to the specialist European venture capitalists BC Partners, who approached Guardian Media Group and proposed a merger to form a new overarching company, which had complete ownership in all titles. Trader Media Group was launched in May 2000.


  • 1999 - acquired Classic American, mostly an editorial publication on American motors past and present
  • 2000 - acquired the TNT Group, the market-leading publisher of titles for Australians, New Zealanders and South Africans in the UK.
  • 2003 - BC Partners sold the group to Guardian Media Group resulting in GMG having full ownership.
  • 2005 - launched a new weekly publication Fusion Magazine for Central and Eastern Europeans living in the UK. Acquired in Ireland, and the appointed Jerry Fowden as new Chief Executive Officer.
  • 2009 - acquired the motortrade bidding system, originally developed in 1999 to help members of the motortrade sell and source trade vehicles online in realtime
  • 2013 - The final magazine was published and Auto Trader became a purely online digital business
  • 2014 - Guardian Media Group sells AutoTrader stake[3]


In 2011 the group became the focus of an online petition by a group called the Motor Traders Advertising Union, proposing a mass pull out by UK motor dealers frustrated by increases in advertising charges.[4][5][6]


  1. ^ HAGGERTY, ANGELA (12 March 2014). "Trader Media Group to change name to Auto Trader as company streamlines brands under unified digital banner". TheDrum. Retrieved 22 August 2014. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Christopher Williams, and Ashley Armstong (21 Jan 2014). "Guardian Media Group gets £600m for AutoTrader stake". Retrieved 28 August 2014. 
  4. ^ James Ashton and Ed Kemp (24 April 2011). "Auto Trader faces fee row". Retrieved 28 August 2014. 
  5. ^ Hutchinson, Curtis (26 April 2011). "Auto Trader faces dealer boycott". Retrieved 28 August 2014. 
  6. ^ Baggott, James (November 2, 2011). "MTAU & Auto Trader clash". Retrieved 28 August 2014.