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eBay buys rest of Australian site

In another move to expand its international reach, the company scoops up the 50 percent of eBay Australia and New Zealand that it didn't already own.

eBay is taking a big step down under, buying up the 50 percent of eBay Australia and New Zealand that it didn't already own.

eBay agreed to pay Ecorp $65 million in cash for its stake in the site, the companies said in an announcement on Tuesday. They expect the deal to close in September or October.

Although praising the joint venture for developing and growing eBay Australia and New Zealand, the companies said eBay's purchase of the remainder of the site should help push it to its next level of development.

"Buying the business outright will also enable us to bring it more in line with our other international businesses, as part of our overall strategy to build a global online marketplace," said Matt Bannick, senior vice president of eBay's international operations, in a statement.

eBay and Ecorp representatives did not return calls seeking comment about the deal.

eBay has been increasing its attention on international markets this year. In June, Yahoo shuttered five of its European auction sites and began promoting eBay's sites instead, as part of a marketing agreement the companies announced in May.

Earlier this year, eBay bought Taiwanese auction site NeoCom Technology and a 33 percent stake in Chinese auction site EachNet. Conversely, eBay shuttered its Japanese auction site, which was being trounced by Yahoo Japan.

eBay's international efforts are starting to pay off. In the second quarter, its international operations accounted for $64.3 million, or 24 percent, of the company's revenue, up from $52.6 million, or 21 percent, of its revenue in the first quarter and $25.9 million, or 14.3 percent, of its revenue in the second quarter last year.

eBay Australia and New Zealand customers sold about $125.8 million worth of goods through the site in the year ended June 2002, up 97 percent from the previous year, eBay and Ecorp said.

The purchase of Ecorp's stake in the site will not have a material affect on eBay's third- or fourth-quarter results, eBay said. Consolidating eBay Australia and New Zealand's results into its own will not affect its financial guidance for the third quarter, the full year of 2002 or next year, the company added.

eBay and Ecorp, formerly known as PBL Online, launched eBay Australia and New Zealand in October 1999 after announcing their joint venture earlier that year.