RealTime IT News

Throw Another Auction on the Barbie

Auction giant eBay will spend $65 million to acquire ecorp Limited's 50 percent equity interest in their joint venture for eBay Australia and eBay New Zealand.

The move is not material to eBay's financial results, and will help to solidify the San Jose, Calif.-based auction leader's control of its international operations.

"The sale price confirms the success of this partnership in establishing a valuable business in Australia and reinforces ecorp's track record in building Internet-based businesses," said ecorp CEO Alison Deans.

eBay Australia and New Zealand were launched in October of 1999. In the 12 months ended June 2002, eBay Australia and New Zealand achieved a 97 percent increase in gross merchandise sales to $125.8 million and facilitated 4.4 million online auctions, ecorp said. More than 1.17 million Australian unique visitors access eBay's online trading platform each month.

ecorp is 80 percent owned by Publishing & Broadcasting Ltd.

"Buying the business outright will ... enable us to bring it more in line with our other international businesses as part of our overall strategy to build a global online marketplace," said Matt Bannick, senior vice president - International for eBay.

eBay has been steadily investing in international operations and put up $30 million last March to buy a one-third stake in EachNet, an online, person-to-person trading operation based in Shanghai in preparation for a push into China.

ecorp operates Australian ISP ninemsn, a 50-50 joint venture with Microsoft, in addition to other Internet operations in Australia.