eBay: 40% of new users are mobile; rejects Icahn approach

eBay: 40% of new users are mobile; rejects Icahn approach

23 JAN 2014

Forty per cent of eBay’s 36 million new users and accounts in 2013 were mobile, according to the online giant’s Q4 and full-year results.

Both eBay’s marketplaces and its PayPal unit achieved record mobile results in 2013, with each recording more than $20 billion in sales volume via mobile devices.

The company said the mutual links between eBay and PayPal were beneficial – a rebuff to activist shareholder Carl Icahn who is pushing for a spin-off of the payments unit.

In reporting the results, eBay stated that companies controlled by Icahn had bought shares and derivative securities equivalent to less than one per cent of the company. Icahn has nominated board members and is pushing for a PayPal spin-off.

“First, eBay accelerates PayPal’s success. Second, eBay data makes PayPal smarter. And third, eBay funds PayPal’s growth,” said eBay CEO John Donahoe (pictured) during a conference call with analysts.

However, Yousseff Squali, head of internet and media research at Cantor Fitzgerald, raised the possibility of a partial sell-off of the payments unit.

“An interesting question is why couldn’t eBay spin off PayPal partially, say, 20 per cent and still retain 80 per cent, which would allow eBay all the benefits Mr Donahoe discussed while still giving investors an opportunity to invest directly in PayPal,” he said, as reported in Financial Times.

Separately, eBay said it would push investment towards PayPal this year in an effort to break into emerging markets and make an impression on physical, as well as online, payments.

Donahoe said there was no “killer app” for a PayPal breakthrough with highstreet merchants, although it is introducing new experiences for consumers, such as paying from mobile devices at restaurant tables or ordering fast food or coffee ahead of pick-up.

eBay reported that revenue for the fourth quarter increased 13 per cent to $4.5 billion and net income on a GAAP basis was $850 million, a 14 per-cent increase.


Richard Handford

Richard is the editor of Mobile World Live’s money channel and a contributor to the daily news service. He is an experienced technology and business journalist who previously worked as a freelancer for many publications over the last decade including...

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