EBay buys German online auction house

Computer World –

MUNICH -- The largest online auction house, U.S.-based eBay Inc., is extending its reach into Europe with the purchase of German online auctioneer Alando.de. AG.

EBay yesterday said it purchased the Berlin-based online auction house for an undisclosed sum. No financial details of the transaction were released, but eBay said it may recognize certain one-time charges in its second quarter as a result of the deal and may see its earnings per share diluted.

Alando plans to spearhead eBay's efforts to set up separate eBay online auction houses in a variety of languages aimed at different European markets, according to Alexander Samwar, one of Alando's founders.

In Germany, Alando will make a slow transition from the name Alando to that of eBay, he added.

The German auction house will also initially keep its own payment system as well as its technology platforms, based on the needs of German users. For example, auction users in Germany rarely pay with credit cards, unlike U.S. users. German users also put greater emphasis on security, which means the system will have to be altered to allow for both of those factors, said Samwar.

Not worried about outages

However, Alando isn't concerned about the technology platform that eBay uses, according to Samwar. EBay enraged users earlier this month when its servers went down for some 22 hours, leaving auction parties stuck in the middle of their transactions. Instead, Alando is convinced that eBay will resolve the problems, Samwar said. "It is their No. 1 priority."

Alando, founded in March 1999, has more than 50,000 registered members and more than 80,000 items listed for auction, according to a statement from eBay. EBay has more than 3.8 million registered users, and more than 2.2 million items for auction. That includes books, antiques, music, computers, jewelry, coins, stamps, dolls, photos, electronic equipment, ceramics, glass, sports items and toys.

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