20 May 2010
A figurative shoe dropped as The Wall Street Journal announced "Japan's Rakuten to Acquire Buy.com" earlier today. Buy.com's "But It Now" price was a manageable "$250 million."
Here are some things you can look for while you watch this news rapidly spreading around the eBay blog-sphere.
1) How long it takes eBay to respond.
When eBay does a hot roll out, their press release hits the stands at the same time the news hits the wires. When eBay is caught off guard, there is a time lag between the wire news and their response. You can measure the level of surprise at the corporate level, by the amount of time it takes eBay Corporate to officially respond.
When Rakuten Inc, "the top e-commerce site in Japan" says:
- ""We feel it has a great strategic fit with our global expansion," said Hiroshi Mikitani, the CEO of Tokyo-based Rakuten. "Our goal is to become the number one e-commerce company and Internet company in the world.""
There had better be a good response from eBay Inc.
Incidentally Rakuten Inc plans a joint venture with Baidu Inc. The same China search engine that eBay is partnered with.
2) How long it takes Amazon to respond.
When Rakuten Inc says:
believe that we have a very different business model from Amazon and
eBay. We empower the merchants""
Expect an interesting response from Amazon.
3) What will Randy Smythe say?
Well known business savvy eBay fixture Randy Smythe currently works as "Merchant Evangelist" of the "third-party merchant program" at Buy.com. With Rakuten Inc stating "We empower the merchants" perhaps Mr. Smythe had a hand in the acquisition.
We doubt he was an innocent bystander in this deal. Any comments he is allowed to make will be fascinating.
"Just my 15%."