LetsBuyIt may deal with Dealpartners

French collaborative-buying site in talks which may lead to joint venture or other support for troubled e-tailer

French collaborative-buying service Dealpartners.com has said it is in talks with LetsBuyIt.com, the e-tailer which recently sought protection from creditors.

Jason Stanard, managing director of Dealpartners' UK division, said the company is in exploratory talks which could lead to a joint venture or another form of collaboration. Dealpartners offers a similar service to LetsBuyIt, in which users pool their buying power to bring prices down, but Dealpartners sells only through partner-branded sites.

LetsBuyIt sought protection from creditors two weeks ago, causing its Netherlands-listed stock price to crash. The management team walked out last week.

Nevertheless, the company is attempting to raise 80m euros (£50.45m), which would support the company until it reaches profitability -- expected sometime in late 2002. It raised 60m euros from its flotation in July 2000, and it is reported to have cash reserves of 15m euros.

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