eBay Bags Shopping.com

Auction giant eBay will buy comparison-shopping site
Shopping.com for $620 million in cash, the companies
announced late Wednesday.

The acquisition “will allow us to provide even more opportunities for our
sellers,” Bill Cobb, president of eBay North America, said in a statement.
“Shopping.com’s comparison technology simplifies the online shopping experience, and the Epinions community of reviewers is a great match with our own.”

Shopping.com runs online comparison shopping in the United States, the
United Kingdom and France. The Brisbane, Calif.-based company tallies
approximately 50 million unique visitors a month, according to comScore
Media Metrix.

Lorrie Norrington, president and CEO of Shopping.com, also talked up customer benefits of the deal.

“EBay will provide our shoppers greater convenience and comprehensiveness
and will help our merchants increase sales,” Norrington said in a

The purchase, which requires the approval of shareholders and regulators, is
expected to close during the third quarter. The purchase price works out to
$21 for each Shopping.com share.

San Jose, Calif.-based eBay hasn’t been shy about spending its war
chest of cash when it sees an opportunity to expand its sales channel or diversify
its listings.

For example, earlier this year it closed the $415 million cash purchase of
Rent.com, an online service for the apartment and rental housing industry. It also paid an undisclosed amount of cash for Kurant, a vendor of online shopping technology and services; the key technology was StoreSense. In that deal, eBay gained Kurant’s customers as well as its employees.

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