Competition watchdog launches probe into Ebay's acquisition of

Emily Nicolle
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The deal would see Ebay's combined group offer more listings than rival Auto Trader (Source: Getty)

Ebay's proposed acquisition of car search business is to undergo an investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), it was announced this morning.

The CMA said it is considering whether the move, which would see Ebay merge with its other consumer-facing business Gumtree Motors, may result in a "substantial lessening" of competition in the sector.

The deal would see the combined group of, Gumtree Motors and Ebay Motors offer more than 620,000 car listings across the sites and reach more than 10m unique site visitors. This is in comparison to the UK's largest listing site, Auto Trader, which manages roughly 500,000.

Cox Automotive, which currently owns, entered into a joint venture with Auto Trader earlier this year to create a new online auction service called Dealer Auction. It received clearance from the CMA on the deal last month.

Gumtree's UK general manager Matt Barham said at the time of the deal that the acquisition would "finally present a viable car selling and shopping alternative for car dealers and buyers".

The CMA has reached out for comments on the deal as part of the first phase of its inquiry, which is set to close on 27 December.

Ebay, Cox Automotive and Gumtree did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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