Flash Sale Sites Sold

Two leading flash sale sites, which offer brand-name items like jewelry at big discounts, were both sold in March.

Nordstrom completed its purchase of HauteLook on March 23; the $270 million transaction was first announced in February. Meanwhile, eBay acquired 30 percent of Rue La La after buying the site’s owner, GSI Commerce, in a deal that had been made public on March 28.

EBay will divest 70 percent of GSI’s holdings in Rue La La as well as another site, ShopRunner, because the online auction giant believes the two businesses are not core to its long-term growth strategy. The other 70 percent of the sites will be sold to a newly formed holding company.

As part of the divestiture, eBay will loan the holding company $467 million and retain a 30 percent stake in Rue La La and ShopRunner. In a conference call, eBay president and CEO John Donahoe called the sites “a huge opportunity that if we tried to realize, we’d probably screw it up.”

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