eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY) was reportedly considering the idea of spinning off its payments business unit, PayPal, as early as next year. The report is driving the shares of the company higher. eBay’s stock price was $55.97 per share, up by nearly 5% at the time of this writing, around 12:10 in the afternoon in New York. The Information reported that eBay is informing potential candidates to the CEO position for PayPal regarding its plan that the business unit may be separated next year. The website learned about the matter from sources.
In June, David Marcus, the former CEO of PayPal resigned and joined Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) to lead the messaging products of the social network giant.
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eBay’s response to the report
In an emailed statement to ValueWalk, Amanda Christine Miller, Corporate Communications Officer at eBay Inc, did not deny the report that they were considering a PayPal spinoff. Of course she did not confirm it either:
“The eBay Inc board and management team remain focused on maximizing shareholder value, said Miller. “As we discussed during proxy season and in our Q2 financial results call, the board will continue to assess all alternatives to create that long term value and to enhance the growth and competitive positions of both eBay and PayPal. This position has not changed.”
Early this year, Carl Icahn suggested the spinoff of PayPal into a separate company. At the time, the activist investor explained that it would be easier for the payments business unit to innovate and execute things faster once separated from eBay.
eBay rejected Icahn’s demand
Back then, the management of eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY) and PayPal dismissed Icahn’s proposal. They explained that a spinoff is not beneficial for the company and the payments business unit because of three main reasons: “eBay accelerates PayPal’s success; eBay’s data makes PayPal smarter; and eBay fund PayPal’s growth.” John Donahoe, CEO of eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY), strongly rejected Icahn’s proposal and pointed out that PayPal is an integral part of the company, thus separating it does not make sense.
In April, Icahn ended his demand to spin off PayPal and signed a confidentiality agreement with eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY). The activist investor explained that he still supports PayPal’s spinoff in the future.
“As a result of our conversations, it became clear that Carl and I strongly agree on the potential of PayPal and our company. I respect Carl’s willingness to work together to drive sustainable shareholder value today and into the future. His record shows that he has done this with many other companies in the past,” said Donahoe in a previous statement.