EBay to acquire GSI Commerce

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EBay has agreed to acquire e-commerce and interactive marketing services provider GSI Commerce for approximately $2.4 billion, the companies said March 28. The acquisition is expected to close in the third quarter.

“The boundaries between online and offline commerce are blurring, said John Donahoe, CEO of eBay, during a conference call announcing the acquisition. “Retailers of all sizes are looking for help to grow their business. Our business is in position to take advantage of this, and today's announcement fits that strategy.”

GSI has more than 180 clients in 14 merchandise categories. The company will operate as a separate business unit, managed by Christopher Saridakis, CEO of GSI's marketing services division. GSI generated $1.4 billion in revenue in 2010, the companies said on the conference call.

“We now have a capability that extends from sole proprietors, small businesses and now large merchants and brands,” said Donahoe. “[Saridakis'] primary focus will be on executing their plan, and we will begin to evolve our platforms on a common direction.” 

EBay will divest 100% of GSI's licensed sports merchandise business and 70% of members-only shopping sites ShopRunner and Rue La La — three businesses that are not core to eBay's long-term growth strategy, according to a company statement. EBay will sell these assets to a newly formed holding company led by GSI founder and CEO Michael Rubin for about $600 million.

GSI acquired sports merchandise retailer Fanatics for $277 million in February and advertising analytics company ClearSaleing for an undisclosed amount the prior month.

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