Auctioneers Ebay has said that it will write a cheque for $2.4 billion for GSI Commerce.
The outfit runs websites for retailers like Toys R Us and Bath & Body Works. EBay hopes the sale will help it become more of a threat to Amazon.com.
GSI is pretty big. It runs websites, packs and ships products and offers interactive marketing services to a variety of retailers. It has long-term contracts with 180 retailers, including Radio Shack, Ace Hardware and American Eagle Outfitters. EBay has been working on improving its eBay.com website by doing things such as revamping its home page, cutting upfront listing fees it charges sellers and bolstering its search engine.
The $2.4 billion total is the second-largest amount eBay has paid for another company thus far. In 2005 eBay paid $2.6 billion for Internet calling and messaging service Skype, which it has since flogged off.
As part of the acquisition, eBay plans to sell GSI's licensed sports merchandise business and 70 percent of shopping sites RueLaLa.com and ShopRunner.com. EBay hopes to complete the deal by the end of the year.