Update: eBay just announced that it has completed the acquisition.
Original Article (12/20): eBay announced that it is acquiring brands4friends, a German online fashion shopping club, for about $200 million. eBay says the move is designed to strengthen its position as a leading online fashion destination in Europe.
The company already claims to generate over $5.4 billion in clothing, shoes and accessories merchandise annually, around the world.
"We want to give our customers the best possible fashion experience online," said Doug McCallum, Senior Vice President for eBay in Europe. "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. We expect many eBay customers will enjoy great deals on international fashion brands by joining the brands4friends community."
"eBay is the perfect partner for us," added Sergio Dias, CEO of brands4friends. "We are able to bring our retail and brand competence and industry knowledge to eBay, and we can expect to benefit from eBay’s traffic and ecommerce experience to accelerate the growth of our shopping community."
As part of the deal, eBay will assume brands4friends' equity interests in UK shopping club SecretSales.com and in Japan's brands4friends.jp.
Brands4friends has about 3.5 million members in Germany. The company, based in Berlin, employs about 200 people. It's unclear whether eBay will retain all of them.
The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2011.