The electronic marketplace domain has recently witnessed the joining together of a number of previously independent marketplaces and the formation of collaborative alliances between others. This study seeks to determine the nature or type of cooperative arrangements or alliances that are currently being forged between electronic marketplaces, and the strategic rationale that is leading to this observed alliance formation. The findings of the study are based upon an examination of statements made to the press by marketplaces undertaking strategic alliances. This published data was supplemented with face-to-face interviews with managers at three relevant electronic marketplaces. Three distinct types of alliance are observed; the merger between previously separate marketplaces, the acquisition of one marketplace by another and the formation of an interoperability agreement between two marketplaces. Three rationales for alliance formation were observed: an increase in the number of buyers or suppliers in a given market sector that can access the marketplace (an increase in scale of operations), an increase in the breadth or depth of services that are offered to users of the marketplace (an increase in the scope of operations) and providing the ability to exchange information across multiple tiers of a supply chain. A broader discussion of the findings is given and suggestions for further research are made
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