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eBay is spending around $48m on Swedish online auction outfit Tradera.com as part of a move to expand its business in Scandinavia.

Tradera.com began life in 1999 as a marketplace for auctions on items such as watches and jewellery, computers, electronics, and leisure gear. eBay, on the other hand, has only been in Sweden for 12 months.

By joining forces the two companies reckon they can cash in on the increasing popularity of online trading in Sweden. The latest stats show that business-to-consumer e-commerce in Sweden reached $4.8bn in 2005 and is expected to hit $15.7bn in 2009.

News that eBay (which owns VoIP outfit Skype) has expanded in Sweden comes amid reports that the online auction outfit is holding talks with Yahoo! and Microsoft over a possible alliance. It seems eBay is worried by the threat of Google, which with the launch of a VoIP service for instance, is trampling all over its territory.

Talks about a possible way forward kicked off last autumn, although there's no indication whether or when any deal might proceed. ®

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