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Scripps, eBay Acquiring Shopping Sites

Two of the Internet’s largest comparison shopping sites, and, are being acquired by the E.W. Scripps Co. and eBay, respectively. The deals, which were announced within days of each other earlier this month, are expected to close in the third quarter.

Scripps, the multimedia powerhouse, will pay $525 million in cash for Shopzilla and its popular BizRate consumer review service.

Similarly, eBay will pay approximately $620 million in cash for and its consumer ratings site Epinions.

Both Web businesses allow shoppers to locate virtually any product for sale online at the lowest price, and provide consumer ratings of merchandise and the e-tailers that sell them.

Privately-held Shopzilla was founded in 1996 as and was re-branded in 2004. The Los Angeles-based business compiles and organizes over 30 million products from more than 55,000 stores, while BizRate provides about 1 million new reviews of merchants and merchandise each month.

Shopzilla will become a freestanding operating unit of Scripps and will retain its senior management team, including CEO Chuck Davis and co-founders Farhad Mohit and Henri Asseily. was spawned in 2003 by the merger of DealTime, a pioneer shopping search engine, and Epinions, a consumer reviews site. Like Shopzilla, gathers product and merchant data from across the Internet, and structures it into a comprehensive catalog featuring millions of products from thousands of stores. It also offers nearly 2 million product reviews contributed by some 400,000 consumers. The site is the third-largest shopping destination on the Web behind eBay and, according to Web-tracking service comScore Media Metrix.

Both companies generate revenue from referral fees paid by participating e-tailers.