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Award-winning Clearwater software company merges with Chicago firm

Margie Manning

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AutoLoop employees

AutoLoop, a Clearwater company with marketing software for automotive dealers, has merged with a Chicago firm, Affinitiv Inc.

The combined company, with about $200 million in revenue and more than 800 employees, will be headquartered in Chicago and operate under the Affinitiv brand name, a news release said.

It will support about 6,500 auto dealerships and have strategic relationships with 15 original equipment manufacturers.

Affinitiv’s CEO, Scot Eisenfelder, will continue in his current role. Steve Anderson, who was CEO of AutoLoop, will become executive chairman of Affinitiv, a company created in 2016 when New York-based private equity firm CIP Capital merged four previously stand-alone companies.

Steve Anderson

Anderson founded AutoLoop in 2005 and prior to the merger, AutoLoop was among the larger privately owned companies headquartered in the Tampa-St. Pete metro area. The company had 413 employees and expected to add about 80 more, when it won Tampa Bay Tech’s workplace culture award in late 2018.

Affinitiv is expected to maintain the Clearwater office where AutoLoop is based, according to Automotive News. That office is in Clearwater Tower, at 33 N. Garden Ave., a high-rise Anderson bought in 2016 for $8.4 million. The building also houses the headquarters of cybersecurity training firm KnowBe4 and Stratus Video, a language services company.

AutoLoop offers auto dealers marketing, sales and service technology that combines different products into one package, the company said in submission materials for the Tampa Bay Tech award.

“I’m excited about this merger, as it allows us to rapidly accelerate the adoption of our best-in-class technology and products across the automotive market,” Anderson said. “In addition, having a considerably larger organization operating at scale will provide our OEM and dealer customers a rich array of solutions with outstanding support.”

Over the next several months, AutoLoop’s suite of software products will be strategically integrated with Affinitiv’s digital and direct marketing products, the news release said. AutoLoop customers will gain immediate access to enhanced digital and social campaigns, while Affinitiv’s customers will benefit from AutoLoop’s integrated product offering.

CIP Capital will continue as majority owner of the business.

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