RL Polk & Co has purchased Automotive Information Centre, the price and specification business of Autobytel.

"Through this acquisition, Polk will strengthen its platform for growth within the price and specification sector by adding key North American market planning information to its expanding global network of resources," the company said in a joint statement announcing the deal with Autobytel.

"Under the terms of the deal, Autobytel received license to use AIC data with its internet business, including consumer sites such as Autobytel.com, Autoweb.com, CarSmart.com, and Car.com."

Autobytel announced recently that it was exploring strategic alternatives for AIC as part of a continuing focus on its internet and "media centric strategy".

"In addition, this investment is a strategic building block that will expand Polk's customer offerings worldwide and build on the company's industry-leading data analysis capabilities," the statement added.

"This acquisition will provide significant value to our customers on a global scale," said Stephen Polk, chairman, president and CEO of RL Polk. "As we integrate AIC's business into Polk, we will leverage other core assets to change the way customers perceive and use price and specification information in their business."

Autobytel president and CEO Jim Riesenbach added: "We will continue to leverage AIC data on our sites."

Polk said its customers would ultimately have access to an innovative market-planning product that would allow them to comprehensively assess the global automotive market.

"As established providers of automotive information and marketing solutions, Polk is now moving toward offering the global automotive industry a centralised source for valuable vehicle comparison and data tools."