Two industry leaders in the auction business have joined forces with the announcement that Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers will acquire its former rival IronPlanet for approximately US$758.5 million.
Established in 1958, Ritchie Bros. is the world’s largest industrial auctioneer and a leading equipment distributor, notes a media announcement issued Aug. 29. Ritchie Bros. is one of the world’s largest sellers of used equipment for the construction, transportation, agriculture, energy, mining, forestry and other industries.

Founded in 1999, IronPlanet is a leading online marketplace for used heavy equipment and other durable asset sales.

The transaction was approved by the boards of directors of both companies and is expected to close by the first half of 2017, subject to regulatory clearances and the satisfaction of other customary closing conditions.

The Ritchie Bros. statement says that 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 dealings.

It conducts its sales primarily through online-only platforms, with weekly online auctions and in other equipment marketplaces.

With more than $US3-billion in annual online equipment sales, the consolidated company will rank among the world’s top 50 B2B e-commerce companies, Ritchie Bros. says.

The same day, Ritchie Bros. also announced it had entered into a strategic partnership with Caterpillar Inc., manufacturer of large industrial machinery including construction equipment.

Under the terms of the agreement, the statement notes, Ritchie Bros. will become Caterpillar’s preferred global partner for live onsite and online auctions with respect to used Caterpillar equipment.

Ritchie Bros. will provide Caterpillar and its dealers with access to proprietary auction platforms, software and other services.

With 2015 revenues of US$47.011 billion, Caterpillar is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives.

All three firms are based in the U.S.