eBay adds U.K., Spanish sites to classifieds

Company buys Gumtree.com and Loquo.com, both of which offer rental and job listings.

eBay has made two additions to its growing classified-ad business.

The first is London-based Gumtree.com, founded five years ago by former bankers Michael Pennington and Simon Crookall. The site, which offers listings for housing rentals and jobs, boasts 1.1 million unique visits each month.

The first U.K. acquisition for eBay, Gumtree runs sites in several cities across the United Kingdom as well as in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

"Gumtree, like Craigslist and Marktplaats, operates in a fascinating new sector for eBay," said Clive Gringras, head of e-commerce at Olswang, the law firm that assisted eBay in the Gumtree acquisition.

eBay owns a 25 percent stake in classified site Craiglist.com and bought Marktplaats.nl, a Dutch classified-advertising Web site, for about $290 million last year. eBay also owns Rent.com. The second purchase is Loquo.com, a Barcelona-based classifieds site that was founded in 2002 and covers cities in Spain and other European countries.

Both will be added to eBay's Kijiji network of local classified sites outside the United States.

Financial details were not disclosed for either deal, and eBay said it does not expect the acquisitions to impact its 2005 earnings significantly.

Sylvia Carr of ZDNet UK reported from London.

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