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Bertelsmann, i-Escrow Launch i-EscrowEurope

[London, ENGLAND] Bertelsmann Financial Services and i-Escrow, Inc. announced Wednesday a joint European venture together with a deal that provides secure transaction settlement services to users of eBay UK.

Headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, i-EscrowEurope will eventually expand to all the major European countries. Initially, it launches in the U.K. and Germany with person-to-person trading community eBay as its main client.

Michael Menke, chief executive of i-EscrowEurope, called the deal with eBay "a truly integrated partnership." He emphasized that the solution offered by i-EscrowEurope would protect buyers and sellers in a variety of e-commerce environments.

"We're optimistic that our approach to mitigating risk in online commerce will catch on quite readily with online marketplaces throughout Europe," said Menke.

i-Escrow President and Chief Executive A. William Schenck said the launch is the first important step in a program to generate value for his company and its partners by helping to facilitate e-commerce across Europe.

The new partners mention that e-commerce in Western Europe is likely to account for 35 percent of the global total by 2004, a cool US $785 billion.

The new service will certainly be of benefit to eBay users in the U.K., especially as many British people tend to be cautious when trading online with each other. Jennifer Mowat, country manager of eBay.co.uk, sees it as a big step forward for the trading community.

"Security on the Web is a huge issue and this new service provides an added value service to registered eBay users who can be even more safe in the knowledge that their finances are protected when buying and selling on eBay.co.uk," said Mowat.

Bertelsmann Financial Services, a subsidiary of the Bertelsmann Services Group, has payment networks in 14 countries, and handles around 70 million payments per year.



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