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eBay to buy GSI Commerce

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Online marketplace eBay is to buy GSI Commerce as it looks to position itself at the forefront of “the next generation of commerce innovation”.

Announcing the $2.4bn (£1.49bn) acquisition of the online commerce and marketing services company, subject to shareholder approval, John Donahoe, president and chief executive of eBay, said it would “strengthen our ability to connect buyers and sellers worldwide.”

eBay says the acquisition will improve its position as a global commerce partner of choice for retailers, while introducing GSI’s 180 customers to its marketplace channel, PayPal and BillMeLater services. Those customers include retailers such as Toys R Us and GNC as well as the Adidas and Levi’s brands.

Donahoe said: “Technology is changing how consumers shop and retailers and brands are changing how they compete. With its complementary strengths, GSI will extend the power of our portfolio. With eBay, PayPal, GSI and our global platform capabilities we are focused on delivering new ways for retailers and brands of all sizes – from sole proprietors to large merchants – to drive innovation, engage customers and help people shop any time, anywhere and on any device.”

The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2011 and is subject to GSI shareholder approval.

eBay will sell its licensed sports merchandise business and 70% f its ShopRunner and Rue La La businesses are not core to its long-term strategy. Instead they will be sold to a new company led by GSI founder and chief executive Michael Rubin who is leaving GSI to head the new companies. He will be replaced by Chris Saridakis.

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