EBay has partnered with auction house Sotheby’s where it will broadcast live New York auctions on a new section on its website.
The auctions will be broadcast from the autumn and it is expected the partnership will be extended to auctions taking place in London, Paris and Hong Kong, reports the New York Times.
eBay has struck the partnership to help create a shopping centre-style destination for its online auction unit with Sotheby’s as its anchor tenant.
It is hoped that customers who go there to bid with Sotheby’s will then explore the rest of the site.
Sotheby’s and eBay have attempted a partnership before in 2002 but the collaboration ended after only a year, but it is hoped the market has matured enough since to make the new partnership work.
News comes after activist shareholder Daniel S Loeb attacked Sotheby’s for its antiquated sales practices and called on the company to improve its online sales strategy.
The deal will help Sotheby’s take on Christie’s after losing ground on its arch-rival, which is investing $50m (£29.3m) in hosting more web-only auctions and redesigning its website.
Sotheby’s will pay eBay commission on each sale and it is understood eBay-owned PayPal could eventually be used to pay for the auction items.
The partnership will roll out gradually on 18 collecting categories on eBay’s website and the big-ticket evening sales of artwork including Bacons, Richters and Renoirs will not be offered on eBay.