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THE highly-competitive Australian dealer software market is about to be shaken-up with the arrival of a wealthy international player in dealer management systems (DMS) which has entered the market via its purchase of major Australian DMS provider, Auto-IT.

The Canadian group is Toronto-based Constellation Software which is establishing a broad portfolio of software businesses that provide software and services to specific markets in the public and private sectors.

Constellation says it acquires, manages and builds up industry-specific, innovative software businesses which provide specialised, mission-critical software to targeted business markets. The company operates a “buy and hold” business model. 

Constellation Software is listed on the Toronto stock exchange and has a market capitalisation of $A88 billion. Across all industries it has more than 125,000 customers in more than 100 countries.

The purchase vehicle is Perseus, the operating group of Constellation Software. Perseus handles the automotive dealership side of the group’s management software portfolio. 

The company says that Perseus acquires and invests in software businesses that “are committed to providing long-term solutions and life-long partnerships to customers”.

Perseus manages dealership systems in North America and the UK but, until now, has not had a DMS business in this region.

The conclusion of the deal for 100 per cent of Auto-IT’s shares marks Perseus’ 10th acquisition in the dealership software market, under the Constellation Dealer Group. 

The purchase of Auto-IT is seen as a launch point to expand Auto-IT’s market share in Australia and New Zealand and to expand the footprint of the Perseus dealer software portfolio into SouthEast Asia. 

In Australasia Auto-IT services about 450 dealer groups covering more than 1000 rooftops. It is regarded for its extensive integration into nearly every OEM in automotive, trucking, construction equipment and agriculture.

Auto-IT is 40 years old and its systems are found in dealerships throughout Australia and New Zealand; plus the US, Canada, South East Asia, Africa, Fiji and Mexico. It has offices in Melbourne, Sydney, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Coimbatore and Wellington, plus software partners in South Africa and Mexico.

Auto-IT holds second place in the Australian DMS market. The market leader is Pentana Solutions which is celebrating its 50 years of operations in Australia this year and a close third is Titan DMS.

Auto-IT will retain its headquarters in Melbourne and its offices in Sydney, Wellington, India and Southeast Asia as well as its partners in South Africa and Mexico. 

CEO Wayne Rushworth and Aaran Newman, director of sales and marketing will continue to lead in their current roles.  

Sean Raynor, the president of Constellation Dealer Group said: “We are delighted to have the Auto-IT employees and customers join the Perseus family and the Constellation Dealer Group.  

“Auto-IT’s addition to our portfolio will expand our global insight in the industries we already serve and help us innovate in ways we haven’t thought of. We look forward to meeting with Auto-IT customers to discover how we can serve their needs more effectively.”

Wayne Rushworth said in a statement: “As shareholders and operators we searched for a strategic partner with a similar value set and culture that will allow Auto-IT to continue to focus on its customers and realise its full potential in the markets it serves.

“Perseus’ buy and hold strategy and the deep industry experience of the DMS market will allow us to continue to put our customers’ needs first and provide an exceptional opportunity for our staff to flourish in a much larger organisation,” Mr Rushworth said.

By John Mellor

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