Online retail giant eBay has apparently told candidates for the vacant PayPal CEO post that its payments unit might be spun off.

The news, when it was initially broken by The Information, gave a bounce to eBay’s share price.

The retailer has been looking for a replacement for David Marcus, who was lured away from the PayPal helm to join Facebook.

The possibility of a spin-off seems surprising given that eBay CEO John Donahoe has repeatedly rebuffed activist shareholder Carl Icahn to cut PayPal loose. The argument has always been that links between eBay and PayPal are mutually beneficial.

“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,” eBay spokeswoman Amanda Miller said, quoted by Reuters.

One school of thought is that an independent PayPal can grow by attracting online retailers wary of rival eBay.