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Sotheby's, Amazon Team For Auction Site

Amazon.com Inc. shows no signs of slowing the growth of its ever-expanding empire. The company Tuesday announced a $45 million venture with famous auction house Sotheby's Holdings Inc. to create a joint online site.

Under the agreement, Amazon.com agreed to purchase 1 million shares of Sotheby stock valued at $35 million and paid $10 million for warrants to additional Sotheby shares.

The 10-year alliance will allow art and antique dealers and sellers to market their goods to Amazon.com's l0 million customers. Items will include coins, stamps, memorabilia, fashion, as well as art, antiques, books and jewelry. Auctioned property will be guaranteed by the sellers.

The new site will launch later this year with the first items on the slate expected to feature a portion of the Halper Collection of baseball memorabilia.

"With Sotheby's reputation and expertise in sourcing and authenticating art and valuable objects, and both companies' relentless focus on the customer, we plan to make this the most trusted and popular online auction site," said Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com's founder and chief executive officer.

Sotheby's is still planning to launch its own site this fall which will offer art, jewelry and books. Sotheby's site will be linked to the new venture.

The new site joins the long list of Amazon.com ventures, including two international versions (in the UK and Germany), PlanetAll, The Internet Movie Database, LiveBid.com, Drugstore.com, Pets.com and Homegrocer.com.

Amazon last week began to offer music downloads and many speculate that toys are next on the e-tailer's shopping list.