Australia's Fairfax moves further into Web retailing

Melbourne, Dec 10 (Asia Pulse) - Publisher John Fairfax Holdings Ltd'son-line arm f2 has taken a strategic stake in on-line retailer theSpot, and willpromote the ToySpot.com.

Melbourne, Dec 10 (Asia Pulse) - Publisher John Fairfax Holdings Ltd's on-line arm f2 has taken a strategic stake in on-line retailer theSpot, and will promote the ToySpot.com.au service on Fairfax websites and publications.

The deal announced today also involves an alliance with Fairfax's Internet auction site, SOLD.com.au, for on-line toy auctions. F2 chief executive Nigel Dews said the deal expanded Fairfax's e-commerce assets, which include shoptoday.com.au and capital city guides CitySearch.com.au.

"E-commerce is one way we are generating revenue from our leading traffic position and it is a big part of our future," he said. ToySpot was well positioned to be one of the winners in the highly competitive e-commerce environment, and extra resources from Fairfax would make sure it stayed in front. Fairfax would not reveal the size of the stake, or how much it had paid for it.

TheSpot joint chief executives Alison Harrington and Justin Punch said the resources and funding from Fairfax would accelerate the six-month old company's growth and offer marketing and cross-promotional opportunities. "This makes ToySpot.com.au the definitive on-line toy marketplace in Australia," Mr Punch said. "It provides customers with more products, the choice or new or pre-loved and more ways of finding and buying them."

In November 1999, research company IMR Worldwide clocked 98,000 visitors to the ToySpot,com.au website, which is the company's first venture. Fairfax publishes The Age, the Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian Financial Review, the Sun-Herald and BRW, and yesterday announced an expansion into Asia with the purchase of IT and finance magazine house Strategic Publishing.