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Tradus plc corporate logo
Founded London, UK (1997)
Headquarters Zug, Switzerland
Area served Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary,India, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom
Key people Christian Unger, CEO
Simon Duffy, Chairman
Robert Dighero, CFO
Industry Auctions, Electronic commerce
Products Online auction hosting, Online payment systems, Price comparison service, Online classified adverts
Revenue Increase£36.4 million GBP
Operating income Increase£9.5 million GBP
Net income Increase£6.7 million GBP
Owner Naspers
Slogan(s) Europe's online trading community
Type of site online auction
Registration required to buy and sell
Available in Multilingual

Tradus was an online auction company operating in Central and Eastern Europe whose flagship Allegro was (and is) by far the most popular auction site in Poland. In March 2008, the company was acquired by the South African media group Naspers.


Tradus got born as an emerger of QXL, founded in London in 1997 by Financial Times journalist Tim Jackson, and ricardo, founded in Baar, Switzerland in 1999.[1] The company first operated under the name "QXL Ricardo", and the current name, "Tradus", didn't step in until November 2007.[citation needed]

In 1999, QXL was simultaneously floated on the London Stock Exchange as well as the Nasdaq exchange in New York.[2][3] Also in 1999 the company secured the rights to sell off pieces of the famous Wembley Stadium,[4] which was being demolished and rebuilt. QXL also managed to prise Hugh Scully, host of Antiques Roadshow, away from the BBC to front its antiques business.[5]

In November 2000, QXL merged with its European rival of Germany. The new company was named QXL Ricardo and remained based in London.[6][7]

Late in 2000, QXL Ricardo became the first British member of an elite gang of dotcoms which saw their stock lose 99 per cent of their value, shares which were valued at £8.00 being worth only 6.5p.[8] However, later this trend was reversed and in 2005 the share was ranked as the best performing on the LSE[9]

In December 2002, a dispute over ownership of QXL Poland arose. In June 2006 the conflict was settled with QXL Poland returning under full ownership of the Group. [10][11]

November 2004 QXL Ricardo's shareholders received two offers of acquisition from Tiger Acquisition (set up by Great Hill Funds and the existing management to make the offer) and Florissant.[12] In the end, Florissant and a group of Israeli investors each ended up with large shareholdings and the company remained publicly listed on the London Stock Exchange.

On the 7th November 2007, after a sharp rise in the company's share price, the company announced that it had received a preliminary approach from a potential bidder who was unnamed. Intense press speculation[13][14][15] arose as to who the potential bidder may be. This was further supported by various press articles in mid-December announcing that the potential purchaser was the South African media company Naspers, reportedly paying in the region of £17 per share or about £750 million.[16]

On 21 November 2007 QXL Ricardo announced that it had received permission from its shareholders to change the name to Tradus plc.[citation needed]

The offer to take over Tradus was formally announced on 18 December 2007 at £18 per share, valuing the company at some £946 million.[17][18][19] The acquisition of Tradus by Naspers was concluded on 7 March 2008, when the company was delisted from the London Stock Exchange.[20]

In March 2013 QXL Denmark and Norway was sold to, a Danish auction house. [21]

Country Brand name Web Address
Ukraine Aukro
Bulgaria Aukro
Czech Republic Aukro
Denmark QXL
Greece ricardo
Hungary TeszVesz
Norway QXL
Poland Allegro
Slovakia Aukro
Switzerland ricardo
Romania TIZO
Russia Molotok
Estonia OSTA.EE
United Kingdom QXL


Company Purchase price Date
Humpty Dumpty/eSwap £3.1 million July 1999
QXL Auksjon Norge AS £13.2 million December 1999
QXL Denmark ApS £6.6 million January 2000
QXL Poland Sp. z o. o. $75,000 March 2000
ibilive NV £6.8 million April 2000
Idefi SA £2.5 million April 2000
Bidlet AB £62.2 million June 2000 AG £44.8 million November 2000 nil July 2002
Ceneo SA £732,000 December 2006 £1.5 million October 2007 £12+ million (estimated) November 2010

See also[edit]