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Ikea Enters 'Gig Economy' by Acquiring TaskRabbit

Ikea, the Swedish home goods retailer, says it has agreed to acquire TaskRabbit, a company known for, among other things, sending tool-wielding workers to rescue customers befuddled by build-it-yourself furniture kits.

Ikea said that it had signed an agreement to acquire the privately held TaskRabbit but declined to say how much it would pay. TaskRabbit will continue to operate independently once the deal closes, expected in October.

TaskRabbit uses its online marketplace to connect 60,000 freelance workers, or “taskers,” with people looking to hire someone to do chores like furniture assembly, moving and handyman fixes. In their listings, workers specify their hourly rates.

“In a fast-changing retail environment, we continuously strive to develop new and improved products and services to make our customers’ lives a little bit easier,” said Jesper Brodin, chief executive of Ikea. “Entering the on-demand, sharing economy enables us to support that.”

Started in 2008 and based in San Francisco, TaskRabbit operates in 40 cities in the United States and in London. It occupies a busy sector of the so-called gig economy, which includes up to 30 percent of the working-age population, according to a report by McKinsey & Company last year.

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