May 18, 1999 5:04 PM PDT

eBay buys Billpoint, Kruse

eBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY) has snapped up an auctioneer of collectible cars and plans to buy a system that lets all eBay members pay each other using credit cards.

After market close Tuesday, the online auction site operator unveiled two transactions costing a combined $275 million in stock. eBay agreed to buy Billpoint Inc., whose system allows person-to-person credit card payments over the Internet, and Kruse International, which sell collectors' automobiles.

"eBay and Kruse International are a perfect match," said Meg Whitman, president and CEO of eBay. "We bring together diverse and fragmented groups of customers who are very passionate about selling and buying unique items they can't find anyplace else."

Company executives want to use Kruse, which take part in about 40 auctions a year, to beef up eBay's higher-priced offerings. Last month, eBay bought upscale auctioneer Butterfield & Butterfield.

Billpoint will let eBay buyer avoid checks and money orders, the companies said. "We are committed to providing the eBay community with the simplest and easiest way to trade online," Whitman said. "Streamlining person-to-person trading is a core part of our strategy and Billpoint will offer shoppers a convenient and easy-to-use payment solution that will serve the needs of the eBay community at large."

Both deals will be accounted for as pooling of interest transactions. The acquisitions, expected to close in the second quarter, could "slightly" lower earnings for the rest of the year and result in second quarter charges, eBay said.

Shares of eBay fell 8 7/8 to 189 9/16 in Tuesday's trading prior to the deals' announcement.

 

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