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Old 09-27-2009
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Default Acquires eBay PowerSeller Dyscern

As reported in Monday's AuctionBytes newsletter (link), Liquidity Services Inc. (LSI) acquired online seller Dyscern. LSI runs B2B auction marketplaces, including The ability to liquidate items directly to consumers (B2C) through Dyscern means LSI can take advantage of additional inventory opportunities than previously possible.

Dyscern also gives them entree into the trade-in segment of the secondary market through its website where consumers send in old consumer electronics. The Dyscern acquisition likely allows LSI to do more deals with retail chains who want higher prices for returns and overstock than salvage goods alone. Here's a description from the website:

Dyscern specializes in the recovery and resale of PDAs, MP3 players and Apple products. At our facility in Virginia, we receive store returns and salvage merchandise. Our expert team of technicians tests and repairs these units for resale. Dyscern operates out of a state-of-the-art facility in Sterling, Virginia. The company processes several thousand handheld computers and MP3 players per week, with technicians who specialize in inspecting, testing, repairing and refurbishing consumer electronics. Dyscern has forged partnerships with leading retailers and liquidators that have recognized Dyscern's best-of-breed skills in its verticals.

I've been covering the trade-in segment for years, including early efforts at Circuit City. AuctionBytes.TV produced a video featuring where they gave me a tour of their warehouse in 2006. But the consumer trade-in space is heating up again with all the attention on the secondary market.

At last week, I met with two of Ztail's founders, Bill Hudak and Jordan Kobert, who have added a twist to the trade-in concept: they offer consumers a price guarantee at the point of purchase, boosting conversion rates for retailers, and giving Ztail a source of trade-ins. Be on the lookout for my podcast interview with Bill this week.

I'm not sure that LSI will be acquiring any additional B2C businesses such as Dyscern, but if you fit the profile, there may be other companies looking to acquire a similar expertise and capability.
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