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EBay to Acquire Where Firm

The Boston-based company provides personalized, local advertising and deals to millions of mobile consumers in North America.

The CFDA-EBay tote

EBay Inc., seeking to further its mobile capabilities and connections with retailers and consumers, has reached a definitive agreement to acquire Where, which provides personalized, local advertising and deals to millions of mobile consumers in North America.

EBay said more than 120,000 retailers, brands and small merchants use Where daily to drive real-time foot traffic. Where, based in Boston, has 120 employees, works with more than 120,000 businesses, reaches 50 million mobile consumers, and has about 4 million active users on its local discovery mobile app.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of 2011 and is not considered a large deal, and in line with its acquisition of local shopping engine Milo.com last December. Along with the increasing investment in mobile and local commerce activities, eBay last month signed a $2.4 billion deal to buy e-commerce and marketing service provider GSI Commerce, strengthening the company’s fulfillment and customer service operations. Local and mobile marketing are intersecting, blurring the lines between off-line and online commerce.

Separately, eBay and the Council of Fashion Designers of America are stepping up their anti-counterfeiting campaigns by collaborating on a line of limited-edition designer-customized totes to heighten awareness of the issue. CFDA members, including president Diane von Furstenberg, Donna Karan, Catherine Malandrino, Yigal Azrouël, Band of Outsiders, Chaiken, Naeem Khan, Helmut Lang, Adam Lippes, Rebecca Minkoff, Billy Reid and others, will customize the totes.

The totes will have the tag line “You can’t fake fashion” and will be sold this summer just through an eBay Fashion Vault sale. Prices for the customized totes are projected to start at $150; a standard version will retail for $35. All proceeds will benefit the CFDA Foundation.

EBay, which launched anticounterfeit measures in 1998, has a “verified rights owners” program and each item page on eBay contains a “report this item” button that users can use to report a potential counterfeit or items with other problems.

EBay is also co-sponsoring the Harper’s Bazaar anti-counterfeiting summit next Tuesday at the Hearst Tower.