Trade Me Group, the country's dominant online auction site, will buy Limelight Software, which operates the cloud-based auto dealer management platform, for an undisclosed sum provided it gets Commerce Commission approval.

Wellington-based Trade Me today signed a sale and purchase agreement to buy Christchurch-based Limelight subject to clearance from the antitrust regulator, which has an indicative timeframe of 40 days. Limelight's Motorcentral platform includes inventory management, customer relationship management, ad plug-ins and website functions.

Trade Me plans to run Motorcentral as a standalone business, but let dealers upload listings to a range of websites including its Autotrader, Driven and Trade Me Motors.

"It's well-run with an experienced and smart team, and has a proven track record of delivering great services that add value to dealers," said Alan Clark, head of Trade Me Motors, in a statement. "The team also has high engagement with the dealer community and we see many opportunities for continued growth. We're excited."


The acquisition comes as New Zealand's new car sales continue to push new records on the nation's expanding population, strong currency, and record tourism numbers stoking demand for rental cars.

Trade Me shares rose 0.4 per cent to $5.36, having gained 6.6 per cent so far this year.