Stumbling out of the Auction Block

eBay’s list of acquisitions over the past ten years have been targeted and strategic – they’ve racked up a roster of auction houses, marketplaces, and payment systems that have helped them dominate the auction space. As we all know, this string of successful transactions ground to a halt in September of 2005 when they jumped the shark and bought Skype for $2.6 Billion. Since then they’ve been a little gun shy and off their game.

So the rumour that they’ve put Calgary-born acquisition StumbleUpon on the auction block only 16 months after picking it for $75 Million doesn’t come as a big surprise. The much bigger surprise was that they bought the website recommendation engine in the first place??

According to Techcrunch’s Michael Arrington, eBay has hired Deutsche Bank to help find the right buyer. There is no doubt that StumbleUpon could find a better home – the only question is whether it’s new parent will be enamoured enough to hit eBay’s Buy It Now price so that they can call this short term investment a success.

Doesn’t look good for eBay. Arrington’s research via comScore notes that StumbleUpon’s traffic is down with 1.3 million visitors & 25 million page views in July 2008 compared to 4.4 million visitors & 31 million page views one year earlier.