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Friday, 1 September, 2000, 07:38 GMT 08:38 UK
Jungle.com goes cheap

The UK's second largest online retailer, Jungle.com, has been sold for 37m to Great Universal Stores (GUS).

This is well below initial valuations for the company, amid suggestions the company could be floated on the stock exchange with a 750m price tag.

Launched just one year ago, Jungle.com had 370,000 registered customers and recorded sales of just over 75m.

But despite being one of the most recognised online-brands in the UK, the web site made losses before tax of 11.4m.

These include the 2m cost of developing the site and conducting a high-profile, but also an expensive marketing campaign, which cost 5m.

John Pearce, chief executive of GUS, said the aquisition would allows his company to sell a wide range of computer and office products through a variety of channels - its stores, catalogues and the internet.

He said the deal would "establish GUS as a leading e-commerce retailer with annual sales of well over 50m".

Great Universal Stores is the UK's largest home shopping group.

Steve Bennett, the founder and chief executive of jungle.com, has signed a four year contract and will report to Terry Duddy, chief executive of the Argos Retail Group.

Mr Bennett said: "Of the many offers we had for the business, GUS was by far the best fit."

Rival retailers Kingfisher and Dixons were also reported to be interested in the company.

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18 May 00 | Business
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