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Shareholder Calls for Sale or Merger of Autobytel

November 22, 2001|Bloomberg News

Autobytel Inc. shareholder Matthew Feshbach, who holds a 6.7% stake of the Internet-based auto retailer, called for a possible sale or merger of the company, a regulatory filing said.

Feshbach and his affiliate MLF Investments Inc. said that, in addition to a possible sale or merger, they may nominate representatives to the company's board and press for a stock repurchase program. Feshbach listed his intentions in a Schedule 13D filed Wednesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

An Autobytel representative was unavailable for comment.

Feshbach, of Largo, Fla., holds about 2.1 million Autobytel shares. The shares were purchased between Aug. 31 and Nov. 12 at an average price of $1.19 a share, or a total cost of $2.5 million.

In August, Autobytel completed its purchase of rival Internet car-shopping service Autoweb.com Inc. for $9.36 million in stock. In combining the companies, Irvine-based Autobytel also changed its name from Autobytel.com.

Autobytel gets revenue through referral fees paid by dealers and through marketing agreements with auto makers.

Autobytel shares rose 4 cents to $1.44 on Nasdaq. The shares have fallen about 42% since the beginning of the year.

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