IRVINE, Calif., April 27, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Autobytel Inc. (Nasdaq:ABTL), a leading provider of online automotive services connecting consumers with dealers, announced today that Auto Holdings Ltd. ("Auto Holdings") has acquired the $5.0 million convertible subordinated promissory note and the warrant to purchase 400,000 shares of Autobytel common stock issued by Autobytel in September 2010 in connection with Autobytel's acquisition of Cyber Ventures, Inc. and Autotropolis, Inc. (collectively referred to as "Cyber").
Auto Holdings is affiliated with the majority owners of AutoWeb, Inc. ("AutoWeb"), and their affiliated PeopleFund, and Ceiba International Corp. AutoWeb is a privately-owned company providing an automotive search engine that enables car manufacturers and dealers to fully optimize their ad campaigns and reach highly targeted, low funnel car buyers through an auction-based click marketplace. Autobytel currently owns approximately 16% of the outstanding shares of AutoWeb, and has the option through mid-September 2015 to purchase additional shares at the price of its initial investment. If the option is exercised, Autobytel's ownership position in AutoWeb would increase to approximately 21% based on AutoWeb's current outstanding shares.
Concurrent with the acquisition of the Cyber convertible note and warrant, Auto Holdings converted the entire note and fully exercised the warrant at its conversion price of $4.65 per share. Upon conversion of the note, Autobytel issued 1,075,268 shares of its common stock and upon exercise of the warrant, it issued an additional 400,000 shares of its common stock. As a result of the conversion and exercise, Auto Holdings owns approximately 14.25%of Autobytel's current issued and outstanding shares.
Autobytel received approximately $1.9 million in cash as a result of the exercise of the warrant. The Company also removed the liability from the balance sheet related to the note and increased equity related to the note and receipt of cash from exercise of the warrant. After giving effect to the shares issued to Auto Holdings, Autobytel had 10,355,898 shares of common stock outstanding as of April 27, 2015.
"Our acquisition of Cyber in 2010 marked a significant turning point for our organization," said Jeff Coats, President and CEO of Autobytel. "We strengthened our lead generation capabilities with superior search engine optimization and marketing techniques developed by some of the most talented individuals in the industry."
"Today's transaction represents another decisive moment for Autobytel," continued Coats. "We've aligned our common interests to enhance stockholder value for both Autobytel and AutoWeb, and look forward to the many combined opportunities ahead."
When the convertible note and warrant were issued in September 2010, Autobytel granted Cyber an exemption under Autobytel's Tax Benefit Preservation Plan. Autobytel has now granted Auto Holdings an exemption under the plan with respect to the new shares. Autobytel, Auto Holdings, and certain stockholders of Auto Holdings have entered into a stockholder agreement pursuant to which Auto Holdings has agreed that it will not transfer the shares for the next two years, together with other restrictions on transfer, without Autobytel's prior written consent. In addition, any transfers by Auto Holdings will be subject to applicable restrictions under federal and state securities laws.
Pursuant to the stockholder agreement, Autobytel has granted Auto Holdings demand and "piggy-back" registration rights with respect to the shares, and Auto Holdings has granted Autobytel a right of first refusal with respect to, and proxy to vote, the shares. Auto Holdings has agreed to certain standstill provisions that will terminate at such time when it and its affiliates own less than 4.9% of Autobytel's outstanding shares of common stock. The foregoing description of the stockholder agreement does not purport to be complete and is qualified in its entirety by reference to the agreement that Autobytel intends to include as an exhibit to its Form 8-K report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The representations and warranties included in the stockholder agreement were made for purposes of the agreement among the parties and should not be relied upon as statements of factual information.
About Autobytel Inc.
Autobytel Inc. provides high quality consumer leads and associated marketing services to automotive dealers and manufacturers throughout the United States. The company also provides consumers with robust and original online automotive content to help them make informed car-buying decisions. The company pioneered the automotive Internet in 1995 with its flagship website www.autobytel.com, and has since helped tens of millions of automotive consumers research vehicles; connected thousands of dealers nationwide with motivated car buyers; and has helped every major automaker market its brand online.
Investors and other interested parties can receive Autobytel news alerts and special event invitations by accessing the online registration form at investor.autobytel.com/alerts.cfm.
Founded by proven and successful serial entrepreneurs, PeopleFund (PF Holding, Inc.) is a private investment fund and pioneer in the value added investment approach for the Internet industry. PeopleFund partners with management teams and provides strategic resources to build and grow great technology companies. PeopleFund has founded and invested in over 24 companies around the world. For more information visit: http://www.peoplefund.com
About Ceiba International Corp.
Is a diversified investment company focused on several sectors including banking, real estate, energy, technology and social responsibility.
CONTACT: Company Contact: Kimberly S. Boren SVP, Chief Financial Officer 949-862-1396 firstname.lastname@example.org Investor Relations: Liolios Group, Inc. Cody Slach or Sean Mansouri 949-574-3860 ABTL@liolios.com