Barry Weisbord officially announced the launch of EquineCommerce.com this morning, an online bid/ask system of selling horses that will begin trading Dec. 1.
EquineCommerce.com will act like a stock exchange, where horses may be bought or sold only through members who hold seats on the exchange. The plan calls for 50 seats to be held, with the possibility of adding five more seats in the second year of operation.
Weisbord, the publisher of Thoroughbred Daily News and an owner/breeder, is the CEO of the company. The chief operating officer is Charles Boden.
There are equity partners in EquineCommerce.com -- Coolmore, Eaton Sales, Keeneland, Lane's End Farm, Taylor Made Farm, Thoroughbred Daily News, Three Chimneys Farm, and Vinery.
The equity partners, with the exception of Keeneland and Thoroughbred Daily News, will each have one of the seats on the exchange.
At least 20 of the 50 seats, which are available by invitation from the company, have already been filled. The trading will begin Dec. 1 no matter how many slots are filled on that date. There is no fee to become a member, but they must have a minimum net worth of $500,000 and post a $50,000 bond. They become a member for two years.
Several persons who will have seats were in attendance, such as bloodstock agent Pete Bradley, and John Phillips, whose Darby Dan Farm will be a member. Weisbord said several others have already signed on for seats, including Denali Stud, Brookdale Farm, Four Star Sales, and agent Mike Ryan.
Harry Herbert, John Warren and Luke Lillingston have formed a partnership to have a seat in England, as have Mark de Chambure, Eric Puerarri and Michel Zerolo in France. John Fulton will represent South America.
Weisbord is recruiting members from such areas as Australia, Ireland, and Japan.
The Web site will list all members.
Ask listings will be made each Monday, and available to the marketplace from 9 a.m. Tuesday to 4 p.m. Wednesday. The bid listings are made on Tuesdays and seen from 9 a.m. Wednesday to 5 p.m. Thursday. The offers are all irrevocable.
There is a $40 ask fee. When a transaction is completed, both seller and buyer pay EquineCommerce.com 1%. The members may charge whatever commission they want, but those commissions are disclosed to the exchange, and the other parties involved in the transaction. They are not divulged to the other members, or the public. The public can view all other information.
While other online auction formats have not done well in the industry, Weisbord said, "The obvious difference is we are different.
"Others have done the occasional auction. This platform is very different. This is the biggest marketing tool this industry has been given in my lifetime."
EquineCommerce.com will sell everything but stallion shares, although Weisbord hopes to add that product later. Initially, seasons, horses of racing age, weanlings, yearlings, broodmares, and in-utero foals will be traded.
A key is that once a listing is made, the person selling the horse is prohibited from talking to other members about that listing. In the private marketplace today, an owner may contact five different agents about listing a horse for sale. Under this platform, only one agent may list the horse.
For seasons only, members may make "naked" bids, thus bidding for a season not listed.
Bids must be within 75% of the ask price for horses; for seasons, within 85%.
Buyers have two days to physically inspect horses and reject them "for any reason."
Auction companies may become temporary members to list horses that were unsold at public auctions.
Weisbord stressed that the members will adhere to strict ethics guidelines and a board of seven members will stringently review integrity questions.