It was recently reported in the Wall Street Journal that eBay is looking to expand its classified ads business by buying promising private companies. eBay's strategy will be to target classified ad sites that have leading positions in geographies and industry segments in which they don't currently compete.
They are taking advantage of the global economic slowdown and hope to buy these companies on the cheap. Jacob Aqraou, the GM of eBay's global classified business, said that the deepening credit crunch has depressed prices to such an extent that it makes more sense to acquire a market leader than to build a new business.
The Wall Street Journal reported that eBay expects to acquire a fair number of companies over the next six months and that they would focus on Eastern Europe and Scandinavia. In addition, it was reported that the key segments they would focus on classified sites that serve professions such as car dealers and real estate agents.
Finally, it was reported that while eBay's regional classified sites are localised, the underlying business would become more efficient as the sites would operate a common back end infrastructure.
Now the interesting question for online property portal sites is who be targeted by the team at eBay?
In addition, given that eBay has a remarkable 82 million people visiting the site monthly, what impact could this move have on the established players in those markets that it chooses to enter?
Click here for the Wall Street Journal article.