EBay Buys Dutch Classifieds Site for $290M

E-commerce giant eBay made another foray into the classifieds space, buying Dutch classifieds site Marktplaats.nl for around $290 million.

The site’s owner was Het Goed Beheer, a Dutch company that owns secondhand retail shops. EBay paid 225 million Euro in cash in the transaction, which is around $290 million based upon the November 9 exchange rate.

EBay said the deal was meant to help it establish a firmer grasp upon the Netherlands e-commerce market, which it says is particularly strong because of the high percentage of the population that’s online and retail shops’ limited hours of operation.

“If stores close at five every day and they’re only open for part of the day on the weekends, the attractiveness of online shopping is obvious,” said Chris Donlay, a spokesperson for eBay.

EBay, which already has an auction-based site in the Netherlands, says it will invest both financial and strategic resources in Marktplaats.nl, which it will continue to operate as a separate entity.

The acquisition also gives eBay more of a window into the classifieds market, in which it has expressed an interest. The company cited the same motive for taking a 25 percent stake in Craigslist earlier this year.

“A minor benefit here is it allows us to add to our knowledge of the classified platform in general,” said Donlay. “This just gives us a view into another version of what classifieds can be. Frankly, we’re still interested in this format.”

Marktplaats.nl was founded in 1999 and is based in Emmeloord, the Netherlands. The company has more than a million listings online at any one time, encompassing categories such as clothing, collectibles, cars and household items.

EBay’s European operations consist of sites in Germany, the U.K., France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden and Ireland.

The company declined to say what its plans for Marktplaats.nl were going forward. “It’s really too early to say,” said Donlay. “We are always interested in ways that people meet, where there is some form of community, and where there is trading.”

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