Jul 17, 2020 - Economy & Business

EBay to pick buyer for its classified ads unit

Illustration of the classified section of the newspaper with every posting circled in red
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

EBay's board of directors will meet Friday to pick a buyer for the company's classified ads business, which could fetch between $8 billion and $10 billion.

Why it matters: This would be yet another big-money example of activist investor Elliott Management getting what it wants. Elliott in January 2019 began urging eBay to restructure, including by separating its classified and StubHub units from its flagship marketplace platform. EBay completed its StubHub sale this past February, just before the pandemic eviscerated the live events industry.

  • Contenders: Dutch conglomerate Prosus made the highest offer, per Bloomberg, but faces rival bids from Norwegian classifieds firm Adevinta and a private equity group that includes the Blackstone Group, Hellman & Friedman, and Permira.

The bottom line: "Ebay’s classified business includes brands such as Gumtree and Kijiji and offers online ads to more than 1,000 cities around the world. The unit posted an operating income of $83 million in the first quarter of 2020, with revenues of $248 million," reports Reuters.

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