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Craigslist grouses about eBay lawsuit

The company behind the popular online classified-ad site says it was surprised by the complaint and questions eBay's "ulterior motives."

Craigslist has responded to a lawsuit filed by eBay, noting that it "came to us out of the blue," according to a posting on its craigslist blog Tuesday.

The popular online classified-ad site issued its response after eBay on Tuesday filed a lawsuit, alleging that its 28.4 percent stake in Craigslist was diluted by more than 10 percent in January. eBay, which acquired its minority stake in 2004, submitted its lawsuit under seal and, as a result, few details are readily available.

Craigslist said it was surprised by the action, stating that eBay had not attempted to discuss the matter with the company prior to filing its complaint.

"Coming from a shareholder that views craigslist as a prime competitor, filing suit without so much as mentioning these assertions beforehand seems unethical, and hints at ulterior motives," Craigslist notes in its blog.

And what ulterior motives could Craigslist be referring to? The company alleges: "eBay has absolutely no reason to feel threatened here - unless of course they're contemplating a hostile takeover of craigslist, or the sale of eBay's stake in craigslist to an unfriendly party. In which case, they're out of luck."

Craigslist, however, is not a publicly traded company, so a "hostile takeover" is a less likely route. eBay selling its stake to another party may be something worth keeping an eye on, given that's how eBay came into its Craigslist stake in 2004.