Online work marketplaces oDesk and Elance have signed a definitive agreement to merge with each other. The two entities will continue to retain their individual brand identities.

Elance chief executive officer Fabio Rosati will serve as CEO of the combined company, and oDesk executive chairman Thomas Layton will continue in the same role of the combined company. Gary Swart, CEO of oDesk, will act as a strategic advisor. The name of the new company post-merger will be announced after the deal closes in the next four months.

The new company will have a combined global community of more than eight million freelancers and two million businesses in over 180 countries, with an estimated $750 million in billings in 2013, according to numbers released by the companies.

[Image courtesy: oDesk]