Publicly traded IHS Inc. and Southfield, Mich.-based Polk have signed a definitive purchase agreement covering the deal, IHS said. The transaction will be funded with 10-percent equity and the remainder with cash on hand, cash from an existing revolver and a new bank term loan. The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions.
"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 IHS President and CEO Scott Key.
"R.L. Polk has a long history of providing critical information to the automotive industry," he said. "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."
He said Polk's services are "complementary to existing IHS Automotive solutions and open up large adjacent markets."
The acquisition, he added, also would provide Engelwood-based IHS with a high-growth U.S. asset, Carfax, that can be replicated in other geographies 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 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."
In the early 1920s, General Motors Corp. President Alfred P. Sloan asked Ralph Lane Polk II to impartially tabulate and publish automotive statistics, according to Polk's website. Polk soon took on the role of an "automotive information and solutions provider" when it published the first Passenger Car Registration Report covering 58 makes and accounting for 9.2 million passenger vehicles, the website said.
Stephen Polk, the grandson of Ralph Polk II, has been CEO since 1994.
The company employs 425 people at its suburban Detroit headquarters and 1,268 worldwide.
Polk has offices in Long Beach, Calif.; Woodcliff Lake, N.J.; Centreville, Va.; Canada; England; France; Germany; Spain; Italy; Australia; China; and Japan.
This story includes information from a report in Automotive News, a Detroit-based sister publication of Tire Business.