EBay to Buy Shopping.com

EBay has agreed to acquire shopping search player Shopping.com in a deal valued at $620 million. It’s a move that consolidates two major outlets for retailers seeking to market their wares online.

The agreement calls for eBay to pay $21 per share of Shopping.com stock, which was priced at $17.44 per share at Wednesday’s market close.

The companies painted the deal as a way to expand what they can offer to merchant partners.

“The acquisition of Shopping.com will allow us to provide even more opportunities for our sellers,” said Bill Cobb, president of eBay North America, in a statement.

EBay plans to integrate its listings into Shopping.com’s search results, giving the auction site’s sellers access to a new audience. Shopping.com’s merchants, meanwhile, will gain additional traffic and leads from eBay, the companies said. Shopping.com retailers generally pay on a cost-per-click basis, while eBay sellers pay a fee plus a percentage of the sales price. EBay also offers its sellers other opportunities to highlight their listings, including keyword-targeted ads.

EBay in recent months has moved to aggressively expand beyond its roots as an auction site for small merchants, making a number of investments in the classifieds space. Last month, its recently launched free classifieds division, Kijiji, bought two European competitors. The company also bought Rent.com earlier this year, and it owns a stake in Craigslist.

Shopping.com, for its part, has expanded beyond products to services recently, launching a beta of shopping search for mortgages last month. Meanwhile, the company’s business has been growing dramatically. When it reported first-quarter earnings in April, the company said it experienced 38 percent growth in revenue and 72 percent growth in net income over the same period in 2004.

The deal, which must be approved by regulators and by Shopping.com shareholders, is expected to close in the third quarter of this year.

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