- In a conference call with analysts on Wednesday, eBay CEO Devin Wenig suggested that StubHub and its well performing Classifieds unit are both on the table for a possible sale. "We're making significant progress in actively reviewing the role and value of StubHub and Classifieds in our portfolio," he said, according to a transcript from Motley Fool. "The review is under way and we're focused on determining the best path forward to create shareholder value." CNBC first reported rumors eBay was considering a sale Wednesday morning.
- EBay reported that second quarter net revenues rose 2% to $2.69 billion from $2.64 billion in the year-ago period. Its number of global active buyers grew 4% across its platforms, for a total of 182 million, according to a company press release.
- The company's Marketplace revenue rose 1% to $2.2 billion, and gross merchandise value fell 5% to $21.5 billion, the company said. Its StubHub revenue rose 7% to $264 million and StubHub GMV rose 5% to $1.1 billion. Classifieds revenue rose 5% to $271 million, (12% currency neutral). Operating margin in the quarter expanded to 20.9% year over year. Gross profit reached $2.06 billion from $2.04 billion a year ago, and net income fell to $402 million from $642 million a year ago, the company also said.
EBay is refining its operations, including getting a grip on its expenses, and that's helping boost margins. Like rival e-commerce giant Amazon, the company is also looking to stoke its advertising revenue, a lucrative stream without the classic pitfalls of retail.
While its StubHub unit isn't the massive cash cow that AWS is for Amazon, results from the event ticket marketplace have consistently bolstered quarterly reports. That could get dicey for the company if StubHub is spun off as some activist investors would like, a move that CNBC this week reported is in its early stages.
Despite the weakness of its core marketplace operation, Wells Fargo analysts led by Senior Analyst Robert Coolbrith said that eBay's "growing advertising business and the migration to intermediated payments" help preserve its value. But economic troubles in Europe, notably the U.K., and the fallout from state sales tax collection in the U.S. are proving to be challenges, at least in the short term, they also warned.
Wenig himself called out the sales tax issue. By the end of the year, the number of states requiring sales tax collection from online marketplaces will grow from a handful "to more than 30 states and it will cover the majority of the U.S.," he said, also noting that in the second quarter, that hurt revenue in the U.S. by more than a point. "[W]e're taking active measures to mitigate this challenge," he said. "However, this headwind is likely to further pressure U.S. results until we lap a fully rolled out internet sales tax landscape."