Ebay Confirms Purchase Of Local Shopping Search Engine Milo

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Credit: Corbis / Rick Gomez

Ebay has bought up local shopping search engine Milo, as it tries to get more money from local bricks-and-mortar retailers, a market that others — including notably Google (NSDQ: GOOG) — are eyeing as well. Silicon Alley Insider and TechCrunch both put the purchase price at $75 million, an astronomical return for Milo’s high profile backers, including YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim, Hunch CEO Chris Dixon, and VC firm True Ventures, who put $4 million into the company last November. Milo’s search engine is linked up with the real-time inventory of thousands of mostly chain stores, so that shoppers can find items currently available near to them.

Milo has managed to keep up its traffic over the last year, despite new competition from players including Google, which has added listings of products available in stock near to a user’s location to its product search.

Ebay says in its announcement that it will be adding Milo’s technology to eBay.com and therefore will be able to provide shoppers with access to “millions of products from approximately 50,000 stores across all 50 U.S. states.”

It’s not clear however how far the integration will extend, however. Will Ebay users who look up a product on the site now be able to see where they can buy that same item in-person? That sounds like it would provide new competition to Ebay’s existing roster of sellers, although the company says those sellers, some of whom presumably have their own retail stores, will now have “the opportunity to reach more shoppers.”

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