APN folds auction site Sella, Bradley leaves the building
Herald publisher APN is shutting down Sella - the largest Trade Me rival.
In a parallel development, Shane Bradley - founder of Sella and daily deal site GrabOne - has left APN's orbit effective March 1.
Mr Bradley sold his final 25% stake in IdeaIQ (the holding company for Sella and GrabOne) to APN for $A3.20 million ($NZ4.18 million), the Australian media company’s 2012 interim half-year report revealed. The deal included a $A6.18 million ($NZ8.08 million) earn-out clause for if unspecified performance targets were met. Mr Bradley had earlier sold a 50% stake to APN. The Australasian media company recently reported a half-billion dollar loss.
At the time the deal was revealed by NBR, in August last year, Mr Bradley would not comment on the period, if any, he was contracted to stay on as GrabOne/Sella CEO - but said he was still having fun.
A notice to Sella members says it will cease listing auctions. March 28 was the cut off for final listings.
Sella's motoring and real estate will be moved to the NZ Herald's website "in the very near future," the notice says.
The site claimed 550,000 users*, and promoted itself as a provider of free auction listings (there were also options to promote your auction, ranging from $0.25 to $3).
But like other Trade Me rivals, Sella faced the critical mass problem. The incumbent might charge a success fee, but its larger membership tends to yield more bids and a higher price overall.
As fate would have it, Mr Bradley's departure came within hours of that of Andrew Mason, CEO of Groupon - the US-founded global daily deal site on which GrabOne was closely modelled.
Groupon made a $US81 million loss last quarter.
Last week, Trade Me CEO Jon Macdonald told NBR ONLINE that Groupon (the first and largest site of its type) "is the bellwether for the state of the daily deal market."
Mr Macdonald would not give any financials for Trade Me's Treat Me, but said it had fallen short of "bullish targets" and was not making a major contribution to Trade Me's revenue. The Trade Me boss said he said he still had an open mind on the sector.
According to his LinkedIn profile, he has embarked on a new venture, Shop HQ which "will be a collection of websites selling FMCG [fast moving consumer goods] products across Australasia. First site, Pet.co.nz launched in March 2013."
Companies Office records show Mr Bradley as the sole director and shareholder of Shop HQ.
Mr Bradley told NBR ONLINE "I'm having a rest; a rest from working 16 hour days. I need to keep the old brain ticking over, but it is my definition of a rest."
* The lack of bouhaha over Sella's closure, beyond a brief flurry of comment on Geekzone, indicates the number of active users was considerably less.