FRANKFURT -- German used-car trading platform AUTO1 plans to list on the Frankfurt stock exchange, the company said on Wednesday.
AUTO1, the top platform for buying and selling in Europe's 600-billion-euro market for used cars, added it aimed to raise about 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) by selling new shares.
The nine-year-old Berlin startup, which is also the leading online platform for used-car dealers in continental Europe, will plow three-quarters of the IPO proceeds into Autohero, its younger direct-to-consumer brand.
"We see strong demand for a fully digital used-car buying experience," CEO Christian Bertermann told reporters on a conference call. "That's why we want to grow Autohero into Europe's leading online car retailer."
Two people involved in the deal said the IPO could value AUTO1 at 6-8 billion euros following the fundraising - above earlier suggestions it could command a market value of 5 billion euros or more. The company declined to comment.
Founded by Bertermann and partner Hakan Koc in 2012, AUTO1 has attracted $1.4 billion of backing, according to Crunchbase, including from the SoftBank Vision Fund.
Existing shareholders may sell some shares to ensure there is enough liquidity in the listed stock, AUTO1 said, announcing its intention to float in the first quarter of the year subject to market conditions.
While AUTO1 has no direct peers in Europe, it has drawn comparisons with U.S. online car dealers such as Carvana , Vroom, Shift and Carmax.
Carvana has a market value of nearly $50 billion and a direct-to-consumer model that makes an event out of bringing a car to a buyer's home -- an experience Autohero is seeking to emulate with its fleet of see-through delivery trucks.
Bertermann sees no risk of Autohero cannibalizing AUTO1's wholesale franchise because the cars it sells are younger and have fewer km on the clock than those destined for dealer forecourts.
AUTO1 reported revenues of 3.5 billion euros and sold 615,000 cars in 2019, the last full year for which it has reported results. The company squeezed out its first significant core profit in the third quarter of 2020 as sales recovered from a spring slump caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The company will use around a quarter of the IPO proceeds to repay a convertible loan taken out last year.