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QXL.com to Acquire Swedish Auctioneer for Half Billion

QXL.com plc announced Monday that it plans to acquire Swedish online auctioneer Bidlet AB in a deal worth $530.9 million.

QXL.com already has approval to acquire 50.4 per cent of Bidlet's share capital and will later make a recommended tender offer in Sweden for the outstanding shares and warrants.

The deal gives Bidlet shareholders up to 14.8 per cent of QXL's share capital, based on Friday's closing prices, with a share-for-share exchange of 9.25 QXL shares for each Bidlet share.

Bidlet runs a predominantly business-to-consumer online auction business, with operations not only in Sweden but also in Norway, Denmark and Finland. QXL, with its consumer-to-consumer business, believes Bidlet will complement its activities while also bringing special expertise in mobile services to the group.

Jim Rose, QXL's chief executive officer, said the deal would provide a basis for accelerated growth in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Finland.

"Scandinavia is technologically ahead of the rest of Europe in a number of areas, such as mobile telecommunications, and this acquisition will enable QXL to capitalise on this expertise across our other European operations," explained Rose.

Joining the QXL board as a non-executive director will be Bidlet Chairman Peter Sederowsky, while Patrick von Schenck, chief executive officer of Bidlet becomes managing director of QXL Scandinavia.

In mid-March, Bidlet had over 170,000 registered users, having grown rapidly since its launch in April 1999. It claims to be the top e-commerce site in Sweden, with audited traffic of 257,000 unique visitors in January.

At the end of December 1999, Bidlet had revenues of SEK 34.3 million (approx. $3.9 million) and net losses of SEK 51.4 million ($5.9 million).

Bidlet's board of directors has unanimously recommended QXL's offer to its shareholders.