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CarBiz Inc. Acquires 26 Dealerships

October 2, 2007

SARASOTA, Fla. — Carl Ritter, chief executive officer of Sarasota-based CarBiz Inc. announced that CarBiz has acquired the assets of Calcars Inc., the fourth-largest chain of "buy-here pay-here" auto dealerships in the country. Calcars' consolidated revenues for 2006 were more than $36 million, which would have increased CarBiz revenues by almost 10 times.

"I cannot overstate what this means for CarBiz: We made an eight-year growth leap virtually overnight," Ritter said of the deal. "We had initiated an aggressive growth strategy in Florida with a goal of 15 stores by 2010, but when this opportunity presented itself, we moved quickly to complete a deal." Before the acquisition, the CarBiz Auto Credit Division had established three buy-here pay-here dealerships in Florida — all in the Tampa Bay region.

The acquisition of Calcars establishes CarBiz as a "super-regional" brand in the Midwest where 26 dealerships were acquired in seven states. Three of the acquired stores will be closed. The remaining 23 dealerships are located in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Nebraska, Ohio and Oklahoma. Ritter said 117 employees in the Calcars network were offered employment with CarBiz after the acquisition. CarBiz also will add 10 employees at its Sarasota headquarters.

Ritter said the CarBiz acquisition exemplifies a growing trend of consolidation in the $150-billion alternative financial services market, which includes such services as buy-here pay-here auto sales, pay day loans, check cashing services and more. Other examples of recent consolidations include Diamond Castle's acquisition of CheckSmart, First Cash Financial Services' acquiring Auto Master BHPH, and Manchester Inc.'s acquisition of several buy-here pay-here chains in the Southwest.

"Industry sources estimate that the average sub-sector of the alternative market is more than 40 percent consolidated already," Ritter said. "The single exception is the buy-here pay-here auto sales business where only 2 percent of the market is consolidated. Yet, this sub-sector is a significant component of the alternative financial services market."

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