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eBay snaffles Dutch classifieds website

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eBay has acquired Marktplaats, the leading classifieds website in the Netherlands, for approximately US$290m in cash. It bought the operation from a Dutch second-hand retail shop outfit. Founded in 1999 and based in Emmeloord, Marktplaats.nl is the most popular classifieds website in the Netherlands. With more than one million listings at any given time and two million visitors a month, the website offers a wide array of items, from clothing and collectibles to cars and household goods.

The acquisition allows Marktplaats to grow its business through the investment and online trading expertise of eBay. Marktplaats also owns classifieds websites in Germany, Canada, Spain and Turkey. As Marktplaats CEO Oscar Diele put it: "There's no eBay in Turkey, so it is an excellent opportunity for eBay to enter that market as well." eBay plans to continue to operate Marktplaats.nl as a separate business.

Business-to-consumer ecommerce in the Netherlands is expected to reach $5bn in 2004, and that figure is estimated to grow to more than $15bn in 2007, according to IDC's Internet Commerce Market Model. However, eBay says it does not expect the acquisition to have a material impact on 2004 or 2005 net revenue and earnings per share.

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