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eBay Buys Back Billpoint Equity

EBay Inc. is repurchasing Wells Fargo's equity stake in Billpoint, the auction giant's person-to-person payment subsidiary, for $43.5 million.

However, Wells Fargo will continue to support eBay Payments by Billpoint through its payment processing and risk management services.

San Jose, Calif.-based eBay and Wells Fargo formed a strategic relationship in March 2000 to provide eBay's buyers and sellers with an integrated online payment service. At the time, Wells Fargo acquired a 35 percent equity stake in Billpoint.

Nearly a quarter of all eBay listings currently offer Billpoint as a payment option. PayPal , which went public last week, also is widely used. Billpoint was founded in October of 1998 and was purchased by eBay in May 1999.

"The increased integration of Billpoint and eBay over time makes this stock repurchase very attractive for both Wells Fargo and eBay," said Janet Crane, CEO of Billpoint.

Meanwhile, eBay has settled some trademark protection cases. In one out of court settlement, BidBay, while not admitting liability, has agreed to stop using the corporate name "BidBay" and the BidBay.com domain name. BidBay reportedly will pay eBay an undisclosed sum as part of the settlement.

BidBay, which also looks very much like eBay, agreed to adopt the name AuctionDiner.com, according to a Wall Street Journal report. eBay said the agreement followed the resolution of a similar dispute with auction site BrickBay.com, which recently agreed to change its name and Web address to BrickLink.com.