Ebay close to selling $10 billion classified-ads business

Ebay has seen its share price jump more than two per cent after reports emerged that it was in talks with multiple parties regarding the sale of its classified-ads business.

According to a report from The Wall Street Journal its classified-ads business, which primarily operates internationally, could be sold for up to $10 billion (£7.8 billion).

Ebay has reportedly begun reaching out to a range of potential buyers, while major private equity firms including TPG and Blackstone Group, South Aftrican ecommerce and entertainment group Naspers and German publishing company Axel Springer have all expressed interest in the business.

READ MORE: Ebay’s shares jump 9% after New York Stock Exchange owner eyes takeover bid

It is understood that Ebay is considering a range of sale options including a full offloading or a potential joint venture.

This comes amid increasing pressure from activist investor groups Elliott Management and Starboard Value, which purchased a stake in Ebay and introduced members to its board in early 2019, to make changes in the face of growing competition from the likes of Amazon and Walmart.

In March Ebay conceded and launched an in-depth strategic review of its business, with the pair pushing it to offload its ticket sale business StubHub and its classified-ads business and focus on its core marketplace offering.

This culminated in the shock departure of its chief executive David Wenig in September who said it was clear he was “not on the same page as my new board”, and the $4 billion (£3.15 billion) sales of StubHub to rival Viagogo in November.

“Ebay’s board and management are committed to driving significant returns to shareholders by maximizing the value of Classifieds and positioning our Marketplace business for long-term success,” interim chief executive Scott Schenkel said.

“We are acting with urgency while focusing on the ultimate objective of maximizing the value of Classifieds.”

Earlier this month Ebay’s shares jumped around nine per cent after the owner of the New York Stock Exchange reportedly made a takeover bid for the company.

Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) approached the online marketplace to explore a range of possibilities including a potential takeover, but later confirmed the “negotiations regarding the sale of all or part of Ebay” had now ended.

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