EBay buys Shopping.com for $820 million

EBay agreed to buy Shopping.com for $620 million, continuing a buying spree.

EBay has continued its acquisition spree by agreeing to buy comparison shopping site Shopping.com for about US$620 million (AU$820.139 million) in cash, the companies said Wednesday.

The move should benefit eBay's sellers by giving them access to a new sales channel and a new set of buyers, while Shopping.com will be improved by the addition of eBay's listings on its site, the companies said.

EBay is much larger than Shopping.com: It had annual revenue of US$3.3 billion in 2004, and net income of US$778.2 million. In the same year, Shopping.com made US$99 million in revenue and net income of US$12.2 million.

But Shopping.com has been adding customers at a faster clip, according to research company comScore Media Metrix. It attracted 22.6 million unique visitors in April, up 15 percent from the same month a year earlier, compared with 63.8 million for eBay, an increase of 6 percent over the same period.

EBay will pay US$21 per share for all the outstanding shares of Shopping.com, the companies said. The deal will reduce eBay's earnings per share for 2005 on the basis of generally accepted accounting principles, due to stock compensation charges and other factors.

The acquisition is expected to close in the third quarter, subject to the approval of regulators and Shopping.com shareholders.

The move continues something of a buying spree for eBay, which has been looking to grow its business and expand into new areas.

In December it agreed to buy property listings site Rent.com for US$415 million, and a month before that it bought Holland's top classifieds site, Marktplaats.nl, for US$290 million. Earlier last year it acquired a 25-percent stake in Craigslist of San Francisco, beefing up its classifieds business.

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