US online auction giant eBay said Monday that it has agreed to buy brands4friends, Germany's largest online fashion shopping club, for 200 million dollars (150 million euros) in cash.
The Berlin-based brands4friends, which was founded in 2007 and employs 200 people, has 3.5 million members in Germany. It sells goods from well-known fashion and lifestyle brands at reduced prices to members through daily offers.
The San Jose, California-based eBay said the acquisition is "designed to strengthen eBay's position as a leading online fashion destination in Europe."
"We want to give our customers the best possible fashion experience online," Doug McCallum, senior vice president for eBay in Europe, said in a statement.
"With the acquisition of brands4friends, we will enter the online shopping club market with an established and dynamic partner who has the expertise, relationships and passion to match our own ambition," McCallum said.
EBay said online shopping clubs account for approximately 20 percent of online fashion sales in Europe.
Brands4friends chief executive Sergio Dias described eBay as "the perfect partner for us.
"We are able to bring our retail and brand competence and industry knowledge to eBay, and we can expect to benefit from eBay's traffic and e-commerce experience to accelerate the growth of our shopping community," Dias said.
EBay said that as part of the deal, it assumes brands4friends' equity interests in British shopping club SecretSales.com and in its Japan arm, brands4friends.jp.
The acquisition, which is subject to regulatory approval, is expected to close in the first quarter of 2011, according to eBay.
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