Trader Media Group
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Trader Media Group (TMG) 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.
Trader Media 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. TMG also has publications in Ireland, Italy and the Netherlands.
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. TMG 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.
Acquisitions and expansion
- 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 TMG to Guardian Media Group resulting in GMG having full ownership of TMG.
- 2005 - launched a new weekly publication Fusion Magazine for Central and Eastern Europeans living in the UK. Acquired carzone.ie in Ireland, and the appointed Jerry Fowden as new Chief Executive Officer.
- 2009 - acquired the motortrade bidding system autotrademail.com, originally developed in 1999 to help members of the motortrade sell and source trade vehicles online in realtime
In 2011 TMG 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.