Yahoo! withdraws some of its European auctions

The Associated Press
Friday May 24, 2002

SAN JOSE — Yahoo! Inc. said Thursday it plans to pull most of its online auction initiatives in Europe and instead promote eBay’s market-leading auction site there. 

Yahoo said Thursday that in six weeks, it will shut down auction services on five of its European Web sites: Britain and Ireland, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. Under a marketing deal with eBay, Yahoo said it will feature advertisements touting eBay auction services there. 

Financial details of the multi-year agreement were not disclosed. 

Yahoo decided to close the auctions after a review last year of its business, Rob Solomon, senior vice president of Yahoo’s commerce division, said in an interview Thursday. In Europe, it is typically a distant third-place player. 

“We’re looking at businesses where we can grow and be most profitable,” he said. And in Europe, that means resources will be shifted to commerce initiatives such as Yahoo! Shopping and Yahoo! Travel. 

Yahoo will continue to operate an auction site in Denmark, where it has had more success, Solomon said. 

Yahoo’s withdrawal is the latest indication of the stiff competition in the online auction world. 

In March, eBay pulled out of the Japanese market despite other efforts to expand in Asia. Even without charging user fees in Japan, eBay ranked a distant fourth in the market. Ebay has advertised on Yahoo’s European sites before, but the marketing pact is their first formal deal, Solomon said.