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Ebay and Adevinta offer to sell UK classifieds sites to secure £6.5bn merger

Henry Saker-Clark, PA City Reporter
·1-min read

Ebay and Adevinta have said they will sell their UK second-hand marketplace sites Shpock and Gumtree UK in order to help push through their £6.5 billion merger deal.

In July, Norway-based Shpock owner Adevinta sealed a deal for Ebay’s classifieds business which also gave the US giant a 33.3% voting stake and a seat at the board of its rival.

However, the move, which would create the world’s largest online classified advertising group, drew concerns from the UK’s competition regulator.

Last month, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it planned to launch an in-depth Phase 2 probe which could halt the deal if the firms did not address concerns it could harm competition and impact upon prices for consumers.

The CMA said on Tuesday that the firms have offered the sale of Shpock and Ebay’s UK Gumtree business, which includes Motors.co.uk as a potential remedy.

The watchdog said it is now considering the proposal but believes there are reasonable grounds to suggest the latest offering “might be accepted”.

Joel Bamford, senior director of mergers at the CMA, said: “Competition between different online platforms is important for people selling used items or searching for a bargain online, as it leads to them receiving better services and lower fees.

“The companies have offered the sale of two businesses which we believe may address the competition concerns our investigation raised.

“The CMA will now review these proposals carefully before making our final decision.

“This is one of an ongoing series of merger probes involving large digital mergers, where we are scrutinising deals to preserve competition and protect consumers’ interests.”

The regulator has until April 29 to decide whether to accept the proposal.