Scoot (quote: SCO) Monday announced it has agreed to acquire Loot, the online and print-based classified guide, in a mostly-cash £189.8m deal.
The two companies had been in talks for some months, as previously reported by ZDNet UK.
The deal could create interesting e-commerce opportunities: Scoot has a wide range of deals with merchants and a strong online and consumer brand, while Loot is widely used by consumers wishing to sell merchandise, property and services.
Scoot, which currently focuses on city-guide information via the Internet and telephone, says it plans to expand its operations into business-to-consumer and consumer-to-consumer e-commerce. The two companies believe their businesses will complement each other; for example, someone looking to rent a flat on Loot will now also be offered moving services, new furniture for the new flat, and fixtures for the new kitchen.
"Supplementary added services are part of the buying and selling experience," said Loot.com CEO Graham Tolhurst. "Scoot brings exactly that to Loot -- it allows us to offer a complete service."
Scoot's service is already delivered through such media as the Internet, fixed-line and mobile telephones, and the addition of Loot's tabloid-sized publication now brings Scoot into the print world as well. "The final thing missing was the print side of the business," said Scoot CEO Jon Molyneux. "Now we have that final string to our bow."
The combined business will now focus on five vertical markets: home and garden, business services, motoring, travel and entertainment, and retailing. Scoot said the areas were chosen for the level of usage from consumers and the number of merchants signed up to Scoot's service.
One of the more hot-button areas the combined company will move into is auctions. Services such as QXL (quote: QXL) and eBay have already shown that auctions can achieve popularity; Loot said it will use its established customer base to draw people in to online auctions.
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