Aug. 29, 2016 was a big day in the history of the auction business. On this day, two equipment auction powerhouses, Ritchie Bros. and IronPlanet, entered into an agreement that will see them combine to provide their customers with more ways to buy and sell equipment, trucks and more.

"This transformative transaction is the logical next step for Ritchie Bros., building on our multi‐channel platform, global reach and long‐standing customer relationships," said Ravi Saligram, chief executive officer of Ritchie Bros. "Together with IronPlanet, we will create a combined company of trusted brands with the ability to provide customers around the world with a greater number of choices and platforms to sell, buy and list equipment when, where and how they want — whether onsite or online."

"Our commitment to diversifying our offerings is directly in line with customer demand for multiple selling and buying solutions. Ritchie Bros. and IronPlanet both have talented teams and winning cultures built on a passion for serving customers," added Ravi.

Founded in 1999, IronPlanet complements Ritchie Bros.' primarily end‐user customer base, as it focuses largely on the needs of corporate accounts, equipment manufacturers, dealers and government entities in equipment disposition solutions. It conducts its sales primarily through online‐only platforms, with weekly online auctions and in other equipment marketplaces.

"This is an exciting day for IronPlanet, our customers, employees and shareholders," said Gregory J. Owens, chairman and chief executive officer of IronPlanet. "IronPlanet joining forces with Ritchie Bros. will allow the combined company to deliver a multi‐channel marketplace that will provide a full range of equipment asset management and disposition solutions."

Greg continued, "IronPlanet has built a leading online marketplace and technology platform across a number of verticals, and when combined with Ritchie Bros.' strength in live onsite auctions, will prove to be a powerful combination in driving value for our customers."

On the same day as the IronPlanet announcement, Ritchie Bros. announced that it's entered into a strategic alliance agreement with Caterpillar Inc. Under the agreement, which will begin upon the closing of the IronPlanet acquisition, Ritchie Bros. will become Caterpillar's preferred global partner for live onsite and online auctions with respect to used Caterpillar equipment, and will complement Caterpillar's existing dealer channels.

Ritchie Bros. will provide Caterpillar and its dealers with access to proprietary auction platforms, software and other value‐added services, thereby enhancing the exchange of information and services between customers, dealers and suppliers. The strategic alliance is also expected to strengthen Ritchie Bros.' relationship with Caterpillar's independent dealers around the world by providing them enhanced and continued access to a global auction marketplace to sell their used equipment.

"Ritchie Bros. is proud to enter into this historic alliance, which will strengthen our relationship with Caterpillar, its dealers and end users, as well as help expand our global reach and footprint," said Ravi Saligram. "Our marketing capabilities, unrivaled suite of technology and powerful multi‐channel transactional platforms will add tremendous value and make us a trusted strategic partner to the Caterpillar family."

After completing the acquisition of IronPlanet, Ritchie Bros. will operate live onsite auctions at participating Caterpillar dealers' locations under the Cat Auction Services brand and also encompass Ritchie Bros.' other onsite and online brands.

"A key element of our digital strategy is connecting more products in our customers' fleets, allowing us to help improve their productivity, increase safety and drive sustainability," said Rob Charter, group president with responsibility for Caterpillar's Customer and Dealer Support. "This alliance will ensure that more used equipment buyers have access to our best‐in‐class products, digital offerings and world class customer support through the Cat dealer network."

Rob continued, "Ritchie Bros. and Caterpillar are beginning an exciting new chapter in our relationship to better serve our global customers."

Note: The Aug. 29 announcement is the first step to the formal merging of the two companies, which is expected sometime in the first half of 2017. Ritchie Bros. acquisition of IronPlanet is subject to regulatory clearances and other customary closing conditions. Until the closing, both companies will continue to be in competition.Strategic alliance with Caterpillar will provide great opportunities for dealers & their customers.

Source: Ritchie Bros. news release