QXL, ricardo Merger Creates Pan-European Auction Leader

[May 16] In a move designed to keep eBay at bay,
QXL.com plc announced
Tuesday a merger with ricardo.de AG
to create QXLricardo plc, Europe’s largest online
auction company.


The deal values the German-based ricardo at £668 million
(just over $1 billion), 27 per cent above its closing price
on May 15. QXL has agreed to exchange 42.6 of its own shares
for each ricardo share, giving ricardo’s shareholders 43.8 per
cent of the new company’s share capital.


Ricardo’s Chief Executive Officer Christoph Linkwitz
hailed the merger as “a historical moment for e-commerce
in Europe”.


“The merger of two public European e-commerce companies of
this size creates a very powerful player in Europe. The fit
between the management teams and the complementary QXL and
ricardo cultures provides a solid base to build a true
pan-European company,” said Linkwitz.


Headquartered in London, QXLricardo will be listed on
the London Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq National Market.


From QXL, Jonathan Bulkeley will continue as chairman
while Chief Financial Officer Jim Rose will lead the
management team. Ricardo Chairman Eckhard Pfeiffer and
CEO Christoph Linkwitz will be directors of QXLricardo.


Launched in July 1998, ricardo has expanded from its
German roots to operate online auction services in the
Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. At
the end of March 2000 it had over 0.67 million registered
users and generated £15 million ($22.8 million)
of gross auction value in Germany for the quarter.


QXL, with half a million registered users at the end
of January 2000, operates in nine languages and
currencies across Europe. For the quarter to the end
of December 1999 it generated £5.2 million
($7.9 million) in gross auction value.


Jim Rose said the merger of QXL and ricardo
would help the combined businesses to expand and
strengthen their brand presence. It would also add
value for QXL shareholders, he said.


QXL will release its results for the quarter to the
end March 2000 at the end of May.

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