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RealTime IT News

Need an Office for Your eBay Store?

Long gone from its garage sale roots, auction giant eBay has attracted all kinds of online entrepreneurs, both small and large, and now it's making a move to provide its business users with office space, too. Real-world office space.

San Jose, Calif.-based eBay is adding to the offerings in its real estate section via a deal with Regus, which rents office space in 410 business centers in 50 countries.

eBay, which began playing the real estate game in August of 2000, said that businesses and entrepreneurs will be able to locate and rent fully equipped offices and meeting rooms by the hour, day, month or longer, in its commercial real estate area.

However, the office space offered by the U.K.-based Regus (as small as single workstations) will be in an ad format rather than as auction-style items. Financial terms of the arrangement were not disclosed.

Regus says it is the largest operator of business centers in Europe and the world's largest provider of "public access" video conferencing facilities. CEO Mark Dixon, a former hot dog vendor who founded Regus in 1989, owns about 61 percent of the company, according to Hoover's.

Regus's U.S. operation has not fared as well as those elsewhere, however, which may help to account for the eBay deal. In fact, the American arm lost about $9 million in the quarter ending March 31, but the company recently restructured its leases with U.S. landlords to bolster the operation.

Each Regus location features a mix of workstations, meeting/conference rooms, a Cyber Cafe and common areas. The offices have Internet access and IT support, the company says.

eBay Real Estate, meanwhile, last month launched a new homes category. Builder Homesite Inc. (BHI), a consortium of U.S. homebuilders, is listing homes in the new category, representing builders such as KB Home, Beazer Homes, Coventry Homes, Pioneer Homes, Plantation Homes, David Weekley, American Heritage, and Hammonds Homes.