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CarsDirect wins hefty $280 million in financing

The online car dealership also announces hiring former Universal Studios Hollywood president Robert N. Brisco as its new chief executive officer.

CarsDirect.com has completed what the company is calling one of the most successful private fundraising efforts in Internet history.

The Los Angeles company, an online car dealership, also announced Sunday the hiring of former Universal Studios Hollywood President Robert N. Brisco as its new chief executive officer. Scott Painter, founder and current CEO, was named vice-chairman.

CarsDirect.com offers customers a place to research, order and finance cars or trucks from every major automaker. Most online dealerships such as Autobytel.com and Autoweb.com refer customers to "brick-and-mortar" car lots.

In its latest round of fundraising, CarsDirect received $280 million from a group of investors that includes Michael Dell's MSD Capital, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter and Hambrecht & Quist.

"The investors participating in this round of funding are a major endorsement of CarsDirect.com's strategy," co-founder and board member Bill Gross stated in a written release.

New CEO Brisco has served as president of Universal Studios Hollywood and CityWalk. Prior to joining Universal, Brisco was senior vice president of advertising for The Los Angeles Times.