eBay grabs hold of Gumtree

Classified advertising Web site Gumtree has become eBay's first UK acquisition

eBay has picked up two additions to its classified advertising business, called Kijiji.

The first is London-based Gumtree.com, founded five years ago by former bankers Michael Pennington and Simon Crookall. The community site, which offers listings for flat rentals and jobs, boasts 1.1 million unique visits each month.

The first UK acquisition for eBay, Gumtree runs sites in several cities across the UK as well as in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Clive Gringras, head of e-commerce at Olswang, the law firm that assisted eBay in the Gumtree acquisition, said: "Gumtree, like Craigslist and Marketplaats, operates in a fascinating new sector for eBay."

The second purchase is Loquo.com, a similar, Barcelona-based localised classifieds site which was founded in 2002 and covers cities in Spain and other European countries.

Both will be added to eBay's Kijiji network of local sites.

Financial details were not disclosed for either deal and eBay said it does not expect the acquisitions to impact its 2005 earnings significantly.