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FreeMarkets Grabs Dealer, Buyer Network

In a week that has seen Yahoo! Inc. and America Online Inc. launch online marketplaces, FreeMarkets Inc. Wednesday made two more B2B purchases.

FreeMarkets paid $18 million in cash for privately held firms, Surplus Record Inc. and SR Auction Inc.

With the deal, FreeMarkets (FMKT) also gains an online surplus asset trade site for business surplus, new and used industrial equipment and machinery and machine tools. FreeMarkets will also acquire 200,000 dealers and end-users and over 50,000 listings for assets worth more than $750 million.

FreeMarkets is targeting industrial firms, which are increasingly turning to the Internet to sell their surplus equipment and inventory.

Glen Meakem, chairman and chief executive officer of FreeMarkets said his company chose Surplus Record and SR Auction because of their "world-class reputation among dealers and end-users and over 76 years of industry experience."

The acquisition of Surplus Record and SR Auction follows FreeMarkets' recent purchase of iMark.com, a leading business-to-business online marketplace for asset recovery.

In recent weeks, industry analysts' estimates that the worldwide market for surplus equipment and inventory is worth $300 billion annually have sent heavyweights AOL (AOL) and Yahoo! (YHOO) scrambling to grab pieces of the business-to-business marketplace pie.

Yahoo! launched its marketplace Monday with DoveBid Inc. as the featured sponsor and listing provider. Not to be outdone, AOL Monday partnered with PurchasePro.com (PPRO) to build B2B exchanges.