French auction site UK launch to rival QXL/eBay

Leading French auction Website Aucland.com is launching a UK site (www.aucland.co.uk) this week to compete head on with market leader QXL, US-owned eBay and a growing list of UK competitors.

Aucland, founded by chief executive Fabrice Grinda, claims to be running neck-and-neck with QXL in the French market following its launch at the beginning of the year – soon after QXL’s French auction site went live in late 1998.

Aucland recently concluded a round of financing from Europ@ Web, the investment vehicle founded by French entrepreneur Bernard Arnault, head of Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, which has a majority stake. The resulting $18m (£11.4m) is being used to support its French site and underwrite an international rollout. Arnault also acquired a stake in QXL earlier this year.

The launch of Aucland in the UK coincides with the plan ned flotation of QXL – valued at between £212m and £242m.

Aucland is planning a £500,000 auction to publicise the launch.

It has also lined up a series of celebrity item auctions.

New Media is edited by Michael Kavanagh, michael_kavanagh@compuserve.com

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