Apax Partners Said to Mull $3.3 Billion Auto Trader Exit

Apax Partners LLP, one of Europe’s largest private-equity firms, is considering a sale of U.K. auto-sales company Auto Trader Group Ltd., according to four people with knowledge of the matter.

The buyout group, based in London, has held talks with advisers to look at options for Auto Trader, which could include an initial public offering or sale to another private-equity firm, the people said, asking not to be identified as they weren’t authorized to speak publicly.

A sale of Auto Trader may value the company at about 2 billion pounds ($3.3 billion), two of the people said. No decision has been made and any sale may not happen until next year, they said.

Apax originally bought a 49.9 percent stake in Reading, England-based Auto Trader, which runs the eponymous website and magazine, from Guardian Media Group in 2007, before buying the remaining stake in January for 619 million pounds.

Auto Trader reported earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of 143.9 million pounds for the year ending March 2013 on revenue of 251.8 million pounds, according to filings at U.K. Companies House.

More than 11.5 million unique users employ Auto Trader every month to search its database of more than 400,000 new and used vehicles across mobile, tablet and desktop devices, according to the company’s website.

Representatives for Apax and Auto Trader declined to comment.