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Going...Going...Gone...SOLD! to Yahoo!

Yahoo! Australia & NZ has bought auction site SOLD.com.au from Fairfax's f2 network in a deal approaching $30 million in value.

According to the agreement, Yahoo! Australia and NZ plans to acquire auction site SOLD.com.au and enter into a marketing agreement with f2 to continue distributing SOLD content across f2's network of sites.

In addition, the companies have entered into a sales arrangement with f2 CitySearch directories, including the sale of co-branded Yahoo! stores to CitySearch's business customers via CitySearch sales force, in return for the distribution of f2s Domain.com.au real estate content on the Yahoo! Australia & NZ portal.

On top of the content deal, the two companies have signed a co-branding agreement, under which the new Yahoo stores and auctions service will be promoted through F2's Citysearch.com.au Directory services. At the same time, f2s real estate business, Domain.com.au, will also become the preferred and leading provider of real estate listings to Yahoo! Australia & NZ.

By joining forces, the two companies are expected to be able to leverage their strengths to reach new audiences and provide essential commerce programs and services to local consumers and businesses.

"The agreements with f2 allow us to offer even more compelling commerce solutions and introduce local consumers and businesses to an expanded set of programming and services," said Yahoo! Australia & NZ's managing director Tony Faure.

"By leveraging our global network and resources with SOLDs local auction expertise, Citysearch's strong sales force and f2's Domain.com.au real estate offerings, we hope to make Yahoo! Australia & NZ an essential source for conducting online transactions and deliver an unparalleled Internet experience to the marketplace."

F2's chief executive officer Nigel Dews said the online media company was simply taking a "very strong business" in SOLD.com.au to the next stage in its growth. Dews said the sell-off would benefit SOLD's buyers and sellers. "Moving forward, we will build our businesses, in CitySearch print and online directories, our classified supersites, and financial services, while continuing to distribute SOLD.com.au on the f2 network."

Yahoo! Australia & NZ will use cash to make the acquisition, which will be accounted for as a purchase transaction and is expected to be completed by the end of Q1 2001, subject to the satisfaction of certain customary conditions.