RealTime IT News

It's Back to the Basics for eBay

Auction giant eBay, making clear that online is the place it wants to be, will divest itself of collector car business Kruse International, which was acquired several years ago to help with the launch of eBay Motors.

Meanwhile, eBay said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it has obtained all approvals required under state money transmitter laws to complete its acquisition of PayPal .

PayPal shareholders were to vote on the $1.5 billion deal today; approval seems certain, however, so there's little drama.

Indiana-based Kruse, which claims to sell more vintage cars than all other firms combined, conducts more than 30 real-world auctions a year. eBay Motors, however, has seen the bulk of it growth (some estimates put gross merchandise sales there at about $3 billion this year) in the standard used car market.

San Jose, Calif.-based eBay has made clear that online is its priority, as witness the recent sale of the Butterfields high-end fine arts auction house to London-based Bonhams Auctioneers. eBay used Butterfields the same way it used Kruse: as a way to get into an area where it had little expertise.

But eBay quickly found that online success doesn't always mean that real-world business efforts will be winners.

Referring to the sale of Butterfields, eBay spokesman Kevin Pursglove said at the time that: "Perhaps we had not entirely gauged how much of a change in behavior would be required to make customers comfortable with purchasing high-end art and collectibles online."

eBay was reportedly forced to lay off more than half of Butterfields' staff during its ownership. Kruse employees reportedly were notified of eBay's plans to sell the company on Wednesday.

Once PayPal is fully integrated into eBay, the auction giant also plans to shut down Billpoint, its former online payment service. Both Billpoint and Kruse were acquired in 1999 in a deal valued at about $275 million.