eBay buys German fashion shopping site Brands4friends

Online auction firm eBay is looking to expand its footprint in international online retailing: the company has just announced an agreement to acquire Germany’s Brands4friends, which claims to be Germany’s largest online shopping club for “fashion and lifestyle” that offers discounts and daily deals to more than 3.5 million members. eBay will be paying €150 million (about US$200 million) to acquire all shares of the company.

“We want to give our customers the best possible fashion experience online,” said eBay’s VP for Europe Doug McCallum, in a statement. “With the acquisition of brands4friends, we will enter the online shopping club market with an established and dynamic partner who has the expertise, relationships, and passion to match our own ambition.”

As part of the acquisition, eBay also takes over Brands4friends’ stakes in the UK shopping club SecretSales.com as well as the Japanese version of Brands4friends.

The move bolsters eBay as European online fashion retailer; in the last year and a half the company has launched eBay Outlet sites in the UK and Germany, and has been working with designers to make collections available exclusively to eBay customers. eBay says its research shows that online fashion clubs like Brands4friends already account for about 20 percent of all online fashion sales in Europe, and that the company already generates more than $5.4 billion a year in sales of clothing, shoes, and fashion accessories worldwide.

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