Analytics Company Acquires R.L. Polk

Jun 13, 2013

IHS Inc., a global source of critical information and analytics based in Englewood, Colo., has signed an agreement to acquire Detroit-based R.L. Polk and Co. for $1.4 billion.

R.L. Polk consists of two divisions, Polk and Carfax, which provide actionable market intelligence, tools and analytics and extensive vehicle history data. The company, which has been family owned for more than 140 years, is known for its vehicle registration data, sales forecasts and tracking of owner loyalty.

“The acquisition of R.L. Polk brings extensive and complementary information and analytical solutions that would establish IHS as a vital strategic partner of the global automotive value chain,” said Scott Key, IHS president and CEO. “R.L. Polk has a long history of providing critical information to the automotive industry. The combination with IHS Automotive creates a comprehensive capability that will significantly enhance customers’ insights and decision processes across the full vehicle lifecycle, with analytics from product planning through manufacturing, sales and into automotive aftermarkets.”

The acquisition will be funded with 10 percent equity and with cash on hand from an existing revolver and a new bank term loan, according to IHS. Both companies did not give a time frame for closing the deal, and it is unclear whether IHS will maintain the R.L. Polk nameplate after the deal is finalized.

“The continued growth and transformation of the automotive industry through the next decade, led by global growth in light vehicle demand, technological changes and the transformation of the OEM supply chain, will fuel strong growth in demand for data, research and analytics to support investment decisions,” Key said. “IHS has successfully acquired and integrated more than 50 acquisitions since 2007. We look forward to combining R.L. Polk’s market-leading information with IHS Automotive’s industry-leading forecasts and insights to create new efficiencies for customers and reduce decision times.”

Key said R.L. Polk’s assets like Carfax can be replicated in other countries to take advantage of the expected high growth in worldwide used-car markets.

“We’re excited about the opportunities this acquisition would offer R.L. Polk clients by supporting solutions and analytics for our more than 30,000 customers worldwide,” said Stephen Polk, chairman, president and CEO of R.L.Polk. “The IHS global reach would expand the unique and vital role we’ve played in the auto industry over all these years, helping stakeholders across the value chain – from manufacturers to consumers and a range of service providers in between – to function more intelligently and efficiently.”

R.L. Polk employs 425 people at its suburban Detroit headquarters and 1,268 worldwide. It has offices in Long Beach, Calif.; Woodcliff Lake, N.J.; Centreville, Va.; and abroad in Canada, England, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Australia, China, and Japan, according to Automotive News.