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eBay buys stake in social networking firm

Online auction giant invests $2 million in Meetup.com, a site that helps people form groups to meet face-to-face.

eBay invested $2 million in social networking company Meetup.com, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Tuesday.

The filing sheds more light on the scope of eBay's financial commitment to the company. Meetup released a statement last month revealing that a group of investors had taken a more than 10 percent stake in the company. eBay was listed among that investor group, but the size of the online auction giant's financial commitment was not disclosed at the time.

eBay stated in its SEC filing that it decided to volunteer the information because its founder and board chairman, Pierre Omidyar, holds more than a 10 percent stake in Meetup.

"While we do not believe that Mr. Omidyar had a direct or indirect material interest in this transaction, and thus it is not required to be disclosed, we are disclosing its existence as a matter of good corporate governance," the filing stated.

Last month, Meetup announced it had received investments from eBay, Omidyar Network, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Allen & Co., former Sen. Bill Bradley and Esther Dyson, which amounted to more than a 10 percent stake in the company, collectively. (Dyson is editor of Release 1.0, which is owned by News.com publisher CNET Networks).

Meetup provides an online forum for people to contact others who share their interests and then form groups to meet face-to-face. The social networking site competes with the likes of Friendster and Google's Orkut.com.