EBay Unveils Live Auction Hub to Woo Buyers With Fine Art

EBay Inc. unveiled a new live auction hub on its website, bringing billions of dollars of art and collectibles from auction houses around the world to its 149 million buyers.

Hundreds of traditional auction houses will sell merchandise in the new hub, including Doyle New York, Freeman’s, Garth’s Auctions Inc. and Swann Auction Galleries, EBay said today in a statement. Shoppers can view auction catalogs ahead of time and sign up to bid live at future sales, or enter bids prior to an event, the San Jose, California-based company said.

The new live-bidding site was mentioned in July, when EBay said it was working with New York auction house Sotheby’s to make sought-after artwork and antiques available for auction online. Sotheby’s is the “anchor tenant” of the site going online today, EBay said.

The company is seeking new ways to drive revenue as it struggles to attract new users after a data breach earlier this year and changes to Google Inc.’s search software that curbed search-engine traffic to EBay’s site. Last week, EBay said it would spin off its PayPal payments business, leaving its slower-growing online marketplaces division as a stand-alone company.

The site uses online-bidding technology from Invaluable LLC, EBay said. One of the first auctions will be hosted on Oct. 9 by Swann Auction Galleries, featuring African-American Fine Art.

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