Amazon to buy LiveBid

Amazon will buy the closely held LiveBid-which broadcasts real-world auctions live over the Net--for an undisclosed amount of stock.

Amazon.com said it will buy closely held LiveBid.com for an undisclosed amount of stock, to expand its new auction business with live events.

LiveBid.com, based in Seattle, broadcasts auction houses' events live on the Internet, which allows online customers to cast their bids along with traditional bidders. Its Web site has been used for events including the auction of O.J. Simpson's estate and the Kruse International Scottsdale Classic Car Show, one of the largest collector-car auctions in the world.

The purchase is the latest move by Amazon, also based in Seattle, to attract more visitors to its site and capitalize on a fast-growing and profitable form of online commerce. Amazon's auction site, introduced two weeks ago, directly competes against top Web auctioneer eBay.

Amazon has been adding items such as music CDs and videos, and buying stakes in other online companies, in a push to become the dominant Web retailer. It started as an online seller of books in 1995.

The LiveBid transaction is expected to close by June 30, Amazonsaid.

Amazon.com has said it plans to offer more than 800 different categories of auction items, with "tens of thousands'' of different items available. The company, with about 8 million customers, generated about $610 million in sales last year.

eBay has 2.2 million registered users of its service, with 1.8 million product listings, analysts have said. It generated $47.35 million in revenue last year.

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