Unister’s Auto.de sold to Vicus Media

17 Jul 2017

The German auto platform Auto.de, which belonged to the collapsed Unister GmbH, has been sold to Vicus Media for an undisclosed sum, according to German media reports.

Last December, we reported that it looked like the Unister-owned sites MyImmo.de (real estate) and Auto.de might fold before the end of the year. This, following parent company Unister Group’s bankruptcy filing in July 2016, and the subsequent liquidation process.

MyImmo.de was taken offline, but Auto.de remained online, although in a state of limited activity.

Auto.de, now owned by Vicus Media GmbH

Vicus Media, a Leipzig-based subsidiary of commercial real estate development firm Vicus Group AG, purchased the Auto.de domain name as well as patents, designs, licenses and the database from the Unister bankruptcy administrator, reported Auto-Medienportal.net (here in German) on Friday.

It appears, Vicus Media had bought the site already a couple of months ago, and has since been bringing it back to life. The Twitter feed, long inactive, fired up again at the end of May, and the site is running a listing deal for new partner dealerships: unlimited listings for €100 per month with a 24-month price guarantee.

For private sellers, the new Auto.de offers a freemium listing model (this service was suspended a few months ago), and they have the option to sell their autos directly to dealers via the site WirKaufenDeinAuto.de.

Buyers can shop for used and new vehicles, auto parts and rental autos.

The new Auto.de is also hiring – 11 jobs are listed on the site.

Auto.de was once comfortably the No. 3 site in Germany, after Mobile.de and AutoScout24.de, and listed around a million vehicles. Currently, it lists around 240,000. With Unister’s mounting financial problems, its presence began to shrink – it counted a million site visits in July 2015, and that number has been less than half that for a while (around 420,000 monthly visits on average), according to SimilarWeb.

Since Unister’s collapse one year ago, the bankruptcy administrator has sold off or shut down the majority of the Group’s assets, most of which were travel sites.

Meanwhile, the mystery surrounding the accidental death of Unister founder Thomas Wagner, a trial involving Unister ex-managers accused of fraud, and revelations that the company hid its financial troubles for years before officially declaring insolvency have made for dramatic reading in the German press.

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Kate Rodriguez

Kate Rodriguez covers the German market for AIM Group. She is a freelance business writer with an extensive background in public policy, business consulting and marketing. Originally from the U.S., Kate is now based in Munich.