Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers today announced an agreement to acquire the auction business and certain assets of Martella Auction Co., a Tipton, California-based auctioneer of agricultural and industrial equipment.

Ritchie Bros. also intends to enter into an agreement to lease the roughly 65-acre Martella auction site. The acquisition is intended to expand and strengthen Ritchie Bros.' presence in the used agricultural and industrial equipment markets in California, and establishes an additional auction site in a proven auction market. Jeremy Martella, principal owner and operator, will join the Ritchie Bros. team as the area manager of this new auction site effective upon closing.

"We are very excited to have Jeremy Martella and his staff join our team," said Peter Blake, Ritchie Bros. CEO. "Martella Auction Co. is a second-generation company that has been in business for more than 35 years, with roots that date back four generations and over 80 years. They conduct their auctions in the same fair and transparent manner that we do. Their staff works hard, they treat their customers right and our two organizations are a good fit.

“We're looking forward to conducting auctions at this new location in Tipton, which is 265 miles south of our Sacramento permanent auction site and 235 miles north of our Perris permanent auction site. We've held offsite auctions in this area over the years and look forward to establishing a more permanent presence here," said Blake.

The first auction under the Ritchie Bros. banner at the new California location is planned for February 12, 2010 and will coincide with the World Ag Expo in Tulare, Calif., which is located approximately 5 miles north of the auction site. This auction will mark the 25th anniversary of Martella Auction conducting auctions following the World Ag Expo.

Terms of the transaction will not be disclosed because its size will not be considered material relative to the company's consolidated operations. The acquisition is expected to close on or about December 21, 2009.