I have been watching the moves that have been happening in Comparison Shopping Engine industry over the last 9 months. Google Product Search is making a lot of people and businesses squirm. In April Shopzilla was sold at a huge loss to private equity firm Symphony Technology Group LLC.
Scripps Networks Interactive Inc. says it is selling Shopzilla Inc., a comparison shopping site, for $165 million to private equity firm Symphony Technology Group LLC. That’s $360 million less than the $525 million Scripps paid for the site in 2005.
Then yesterday the news came that Bing and Shopping.com is “partnering” to ensure that Shopping.com’s results are shown on Bing.
Bing is going to integrate Shopping.com listings into their existing Bing Shopping results. This is a big win for Shopping.com as Bing instantly becomes their largest co-brand. For Bing, this should improve the quality of the search experience for their users by dramatically increasing the amount of seller data.
My immediate reaction is mixed on this. Bing is obviously trying to create a better experience for their users but why not leverage Microsoft’s actual own holding ciao? I am aware that ciao is predominately European but this partnership is a huge kick in the gut for all involved with Ciao.. I guess this confirms that Microsoft is trying to unload this to another potential owner. Forbes reported that Mergermarket indicated that Microsoft had put Ciao up for sale and was talking to prospective new owners.
The story says potential suitors included current rivals, including Kelkoo, which is owned by U.K. private equity firm Jamplant; E.W. Scripps unit Shopzilla; and Experian unit PriceGrabber.com. The unit is likely to sell for under $100 million, MergerMarket says.
Yesterday’s news leads to me to the following: Who ever thought of Microsoft doing a partnership with eBay in the ecommerce space? Both companies are hedging their bets against one company that competes against them both. Secondly, this is a very good move for Shopping.com who after their redesign are obviously trying to acquire marketshare.