eBay Steps Up Acquisition Spree

The online auction giant's shopping spree continues with the addition of e-business software firm Kurant.

Online auctioneer eBay Inc. has dipped into its war chest to snap up the technology assets of e-business software specialist Kurant Corp.

Financial terms of the cash transaction were not disclosed.

The deal gives the San Jose, Calif.-based eBay a key player in the e-commerce business and signals a move by the auction giant to diversify and tap into the enterprise market.

With the Kurant acquisition, eBay gets its hands on the StoreSense product, which is used as a plug-and-play e-commerce platform for small and medium-sized businesses. StoreSense lets businesses add commerce to an existing Web site or create a sophisticated Web store with inventory management, supplier communication and QuickBooks integration.

eBay plans to retain the majority of Kurants San Francisco-based staff and continue to support the startups existing customer base.

The Kurant deal is the fifth acquisition by eBay in the last year and comes exactly a month after the company shelled out $415 million in cash and stock to acquire Rent.com.

eBay also paid $121 million last April to buy Germanys classifieds listing site Mobile.de and $290 million on last Novembers acquisition of Dutch classifieds site Markplaats.nl. Before that, a $50 million deal added Baazee.com Inc., a Web marketplace based in India.

Last summer, eBay took a 25 percent equity stake in online bulletin board Craigslist.

eBay also announced plans to jack up listing fees in some key categories on Feb. 18.

The new fee structure affects sellers on the eBay.com and eBay Motors sites in the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. In some cases, the company is maintaining or even lowering fees, but for the majority of store owners, the changes represent a 60 percent jump in subscription fees.


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