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Amazon agreed to buy 50 percent of closely held Pets.com.

Greg McLemore, a founder of Pets.com who currently is senior vice president for business development, said Amazon was chosen as a major investor because ‘they have a lot of successful experience in electronic commerce.’

Pets.com’s investments from Amazon and Hummer Winblad put the 5-month-old pet content, commerce and community site well ahead of its two major rivals. . . . Incubated at WebMagic, McLemore’s Pasadena Web developer company, Pets.com features a 10,000-item online store.

‘We invest only in companies that share our passion for commerce. Pets.com has a leading market position, and its proven management team is dedicated to a great customer experience,’ said Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com’s founder and chief executive officer.

Amazon.com buys 50 pct stake in cyber petstore — Pets.com’s pet products and services include ferret hammocks, pet foods and help in locating pet-friendly hotels.

Expanding its retail scope, Amazon.com has invested in start-up Pets.com. . . . Pets.com, founded in 1998 by Greg McLemore and Eva Woodsmall, specializes in popular and rare pet accessories, products and food for all types of animals.

The purchase of the stake in Pets.com, which sells pet products including food, health aids, grooming devices, feeders and furniture, is just Amazon.com’s latest move to branch out into other categories.

Ms. Wainwright left Reel.com last month to become chief executive of Pets.com, an online peddler of pet supplies.

Former Reel.com CEO Goes to the Dogs — Pets.com founder Greg McLemore says the company had been looking for a CEO since the fall and was happy that it could attract [Julie] Wainwright [former Reel.com CEO] and hire her on such short notice.

[Mark] Woodsmall . . . works as Pet Lawyer for Pets.com, one of several Web sites created by WebMagic. . . . Visit Pets.com this month and the legal center features topics such as ‘dogs trespassing,’ ‘breeder responsibilities,’ ‘pet visitation rights,’ and ‘the barking dog.’