Tech Industry

Sotheby's shutters online-only auctions

The New York auction house plans to discontinue online-only bidding through eBay, ending an agreement the companies began last year.

New York auction house Sotheby's plans to discontinue online-only auctions through eBay, ending an agreement the companies began last year, both companies said Tuesday.

Sotheby's plans to pull the plug on the venture in May, but will maintain its Sothebys.com Web site on eBay, where it will continue allowing online bidding on some live Sotheby's auctions using eBay's Live Auctions technology, a Sotheby's representative said.

Sotheby's said purely online auctions through eBay had not proven profitable for the company and that it would take a one-time restructuring charge of between $2 million and $3 million as a result of ending the deal.

Tuesday's news marks the second time Sotheby's has ceased jointly operated online auctions with a dot-com company. Sotheby's canceled a similar agreement with Amazon.com in 2000, after the two had agreed to create a co-branded site on Amazon the previous year.