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Manheim Sales & Service rebranded as part of MBO

Real Time Communications founder Tim Baumfield

Cox Automotive has sold its Real Time Communications business to its founder and senior leadership team in a management buy-out.

The car retail software business, which has been trading as Manheim Sales & Service since its acquisition by Cox will return of its original name of Real Time Communications as a result of the deal.

Tim Baumfield, who founded the business in August 2001, said: “This is an exciting development for everyone employed in the business and our customers.

“I founded Real Time Communications (RTC) almost 18 years ago, and it gives me enormous pleasure to lead the team that have completed this buyout and get back involved with a business that I am passionate about.

“Of course, much has changed since 2001, but not the clear enjoyment and commitment that the team have for working with our clients in the dynamic business that is the motor trade.

“It’s a great business with great staff and brilliant customers, and we have an exciting vision for the future and the resources and expertise to deliver it.”

Baumfield will be working closely with managing director Richard Robinson, who will continue to lead the business day to day in the business’s new structure.

They will also have the support of other members of the MBO team, including Mike Whitney, original software designer and architect of RTC, and Tracey Howell and Simon Coates, both long-serving employees of the business.

Cox Automotive UK chief executive, Martin Forbes, said that, following the decision by Cox Automotive US to dispose of our international DMS business incadea last year, dealer software was no longer "one of our UK core strategic priorities", with focus areas for Cox Automotive UK being physical auction, digital wholesale, retail solutions and vehicle services.

The Incadea DMS business was sold to Volaris Group for an undisclosed sum

Incadea, which operates in 90 countries and has 4,000 dealerships on its books, was acquired by Cox Automotive in 2015 as part of the $4bn purchase of Dealertrack in the US.

In the case of Real Time Communications's MBO, Forbes said that, given the move away from dealer software, Cox believed that it was "in the interest for this business, our customers and its employees to be owned and managed by a leadership team with their specialist expertise, a long-term strategy and outstanding customer service mentality".

He added: “I would like to thank everyone in the RTC team for their dedication and hard work during their time within Cox Automotive and wish the whole team the very best success in the future.”

Real Time Communications employs more than 50 people, predominantly based in its Bury office.

It will continue to supply software to franchised dealers and OEMs for both the aftersales and sales departments in the form of RTC and Close-it, with an open-platform approach at its heart.

The Real Time Communications management team will be working closely with Cox Automotive UK to ensure a smooth transition, with no disruption to customers’ service levels, it said in a statement.

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