OpenSite Deal Scuttles Bidder’s Edge Sale

Online auction portal Bidder’s Edge announced Tuesday that it is canceling its pending sale to OpenSite after the online pricing solutions provider disclosed that it will be acquired by Siebel Systems, Inc. for $444 million (US$).

Nick Godfrey, Bidder’s Edge Director of Marketing, told the E-Commerce Times that, “Things have changed in such a way that the virtue of the merger with OpenSite is no longer present.”

The San Mateo, California-based Siebel Systems is an e-business application software provider with sales and service facilities in 28 countries.

New Chemistry

In February, on the same day that OpenSite announced the proposed purchase of Bidder’s Edge, OpenSite announced that it had filed for an initial public offering. The Siebel transaction cancels the pending IPO, and leaves Bidder’s Edge with little choice but throw in the towel.

“The sale to OpenSite just doesn’t make sense for us anymore,” Godfrey said.

Now, instead of being a unit of a publicly traded company, Bidder’s Edge — which brings 300,000 unique visitors to 150 online auction sites a month — will continue to go it alone against fierce competition in the online auction market.

Possible Injunction Looming

The cancellation of the sale to OpenSite is not the only current headache for Bidder’s Edge. The company is waiting for a federal judge to rule on whether to grant a preliminary injunction on the motion of auction giant eBay in its lawsuit against Bidder’s Edge.

If the injunction issues, Bidder’s Edge will have to stop having its search engine scroll through the millions of auction listings on eBay. The court heard arguments from both sides in a federal court in San Jose, California Friday and is expected to rule soon. The court indicated that it was leaning toward granting the injunction because Bidder’s Edge appears to be trespassing on eBay’s property without permission.

Godfrey said the company is fighting the case with a higher cause in mind.

“We are hoping for the best and still firmly believe that this is a case where the openness of the Web is at stake,” he said. “This is definitely a higher level struggle for us.”

The Burlington, Massachusetts-based Bidder’s Edge filed an antitrust counterclaim against eBay in February. The company said the counterclaim was unrelated to the Department of Justice’s preliminary antitrust investigation into the online auction industry, also launched in February.

Leave a Comment

Please sign in to post or reply to a comment. New users create a free account.

E-Commerce Times Channels