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Yahoo! offloads Kelkoo for a song

Euro shopping service = €375m loss

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Yahoo! has sold Kelkoo, the European comparison-shopping service, to a hereto unknown English private equity firm called Jamplant.

While Yahoo! won't reveal how much it received in the deal, ex-Kelkoo CEO and founder Pierre Chappaz claims on his (French) blog that the company was sold for under €100m. That's quite a dip from the €475m cash Yahoo! had initially paid for Kelkoo in 2004.

Four years ago, Yahoo! said the purchase of Kelkoo would add "significant strength and scale to Yahoo! Europe's business." But the bargain shopping site soon found itself struggling to keep up with its competition.

Chappaz blames the price discrepancy on "incompetence of management" which brought Yahoo stock price down to under $9 last week. Specifically, he fingers Yahoo!'s inability to properly manage its teams outside the US.

While it might be tempting to categorize the sale as the first step in Yahoo!'s de-Yangification process, the company has been considering offloading the service since at least since October 2007.

Meanwhile, Jamplant remains a bit of a mystery, having been created only six weeks ago. Chappaz claims to have posted a redacted internal email from Kelkoo describing the investment firm as being funded by several angel investors "excited about the price comparison space." ®

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