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Amazon.com Buys into Australian Toys

Amazon.com has made its first foray into Australia by indirectly taking a stake in a fledgling toy e-tailer called ToySpot.com.au.

The deal came through a complex transaction which also involves Australian publishers John Fairfax Ltd.

The deal involves Amazon.com taking a 50 per cent share of f2 Investments, which is a holding company created by Fairfax for its wholly-owned online subsidiary, f2 Limited. Fairfax bought a "strategic stake" through f2 Investments last December in theSpot, an Australian startup whose only property at the moment is the ToySpot Web site which was started only months earlier in October.

ToySpot has over 2000 products in toys, children's books and videos, children's software, and video games, according to theSpot.

The deal is particularly good for Fairfax because in lieu of cash, an undisclosed portion of its interest in theSpot was traded for free advertising on f2 properties like www.shoptoday.com.au plus a sweetheart deal with its SOLD.com.au online auction site.

"f2 has a growing e-commerce position in SOLD.com.au and CitySearch.com.au and we are pleased to begin a relationship with Amazon.com, the world's most customer centric company," said Nigel Dews, CEO of f2, in a terse four-line statement issued by Fairfax.

Amazon.com currently operates region-specific sites only in Britain and Germany, with toys and games being included as one of the site's six main product lines in July last year.

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