eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY) is planning to acquire GSI Commerce for $2.4 billion. eBay is buying the e-commerce marketing services company for $29.25 per share. eBay is spending more on GSI than what they spent on PayPal and slightly less than Skype.
“We intend to lead the next generation of commerce innovation. The acquisition of GSI, which offers the most comprehensive integrated suite of online commerce and interactive marketing services available, will significantly strengthen our ability to connect buyers and sellers worldwide,” stated eBay CEO John Donahoe. “Combined with eBay Marketplaces and PayPal, we believe GSI will enhance our position as the leading strategic global commerce partner of choice for retailers and brands of all sizes.”
GSI has about 180 brand partners that include Ralph Lauren and American Eagle. They provide e-commerce technology, customer care, and marketing services to these clients. Clearly eBay has an interest in big brands selling on their platform rather than just being seen as an independent auction website.
GSI launched in 1995 when it was known as Global Sports Inc. Global Sports was an online sporting goods retail company when they first started. GSI CEO Michael Rubin appeared on the CBS reality show Undercover Boss last year. GSI also runs a couple of services called Rue La La and ShopRunner. eBay will be divesting 70% ownership in these subsidiaries and 100% of GSI’s licensed sports merchandising business.