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Yahoo! Auctions Has Designs on Scandinavia

Yahoo! Thursday redoubled its efforts to fight online auction giant eBay on European soil.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based media portal said it is working with London-based QXL ricardo (formerly QXL.com) on a co-branded auction site for the Denmark, Norway and Sweden marketplace. Yahoo! currently has an on-line auction service in Denmark only. The co-branded sites are slated to go live by the end of the summer.

The agreement comes a mere two months after Yahoo! shut down six online auction businesses in Western Europe, including Italy, Spain, Italy, Germany and France.

Yahoo! has been actively trying to expand its revenue stream following the decline in Internet advertising, and the auction business has been a part of that effort.

QXL is also looking to beat eBay on its own turf. After acquiring German-based Ricardo, QXL phased out its practice of buying merchandise from manufacturers to sell to consumers. The company is now settling into its role as facilitator. Currently, QXL boasts an online auction community that hawks items ranging from computer software and hardware, consumer electronics, household appliances and collectibles to travel-related items and sports equipment.

Under the terms of the multi-year agreement, QXL will host and maintain the sites with both Yahoo! and QXL responsible marketing. The on-line auction service will be accessed via a jump-page off the Yahoo! home page in these three countries. The compay said it would retain the look and feel of the current Yahoo! Auction site and will be co-branded as "powered by QXL".

"From a financial and strategic perspective, the agreement with QXL will better enable Yahoo! to focus on key growth areas across our Scandinavian sites. At the same time, our users in the Scandinavian region will benefit from QXL's market leading service," said Yahoo! Europe Managing Director Mark Opzoomer.

At this time, auction users from Yahoo! Denmark will be directed to place any new listings on the co-branded service, and existing listings on the original Yahoo! Denmark site will run until their natural close.

"As the number one on-line auction service in Scandinavia, we look forward to welcoming Yahoo! users to this new co-branded service," said QXL CEO Mark Zaleski. "We believe that the combination of two of the leading on-line brands in this region, will be a success with consumers and marketers alike"