Few businesses demonstrated the unique benefits of the internet to newcomers as thoroughly as eBay, a highly profitable combination of peer-to-peer shopping network and traditional auction house which matches buyers and sellers in more than 40 countries around the globe. Anything legal can be bought and sold on eBay, from low-priced mainstream consumer products to the most obscure collectors' items or even the totally bizarre. Gross value of goods sold peaked in 2018 at $95bn, before declining the following year to $90.2bn. The community includes more than 183m active users worldwide. The main eBay platform is partnered by a collection of mostly acquired online local classified advertising sites including Mobile.de, Gumtree, Kijiji, Marktplaats and others. In the 2000s, its impressive profit margins made eBay one of the world's most valuable internet businesses. One of the company's comparatively few missteps was its high-priced acquisition of VoIP pioneer Skype. Having failed to establish any meaningful synergies with its online auction business, eBay sold on a controlling stake in Skype that was later snapped up by Microsoft. Online payments service Paypal proved a more lucrative venture, contributing close to half of group revenues by the time it was spun off as a separate company in 2015. More recently, the group sold its successful ticket resale site StubHub to rival Viagogo for a lavish $4bn in 2019. The biggest challenge facing eBay now is how to reignite growth in the face of multiple rival shopping services - and especially the spectacular growth and successful diversification of Amazon - and a slowdown in traditional classified selling. Performance during 2019 slowed significantly, and the company has come under intense pressure from activist investors. Devin Wenig, previously president global marketplaces, became CEO in 2015, but departed the company abruptly in 3Q 2019 as a result of clashes with the board. Jamie Iannone was eventually named as CEO in April 2020. Revenues edged up modestly in 2019 to $10.8bn, but net income slipped 29% to $1.8bn. Those figures included revenues of around $1.1bn from StubHub, now to be sold.
Capsule checked 27th December 2019
Adbrands Account Assignments tracks account management for the world's leading brands and companies, including details of which advertising agency handles which accounts in which countries for major markets
Account assignments & selected contact information
Which agencies handle advertising for eBay? Find out more from the Account Assignments database
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Advertising expenditure for eBay? See ranking of Declared Advertising Costs
Who are the competitors of eBay? The main direct competitor to eBay in major Western markets is Amazon, which offers person-to-person selling as well as direct sales; Alibaba is an equally significant rival in Asia. There are numerous other rivals, either the online presence for established bricks and mortar retailers, or dedicated online-only marketplaces, or shopping services launched by other online-only companies. See Media Sector and Retail Sector for other companies.
Historical profile information for eBay
Adbrands Daily Update 21st Jul 2020: EBay agreed to sell its classified advertising unit to smaller Norwegian rival Adevinta for a handsome $9.2bn, roughly nine times its annual revenues. Only $2.5bn is being settled in cash, with the rest in stock. That will make eBay the biggest single shareholder in the enlarged Adevinta with around 44% of equity (but 33% of voting rights). The sale covers eBay's standalone classified advertising websites in 12 markets including Kijiji in the US, Motors.co.uk in the UK, Gumtree in Australia and the UK, Mobile.de and eBay Kleinanzeigen in Germany, and Marktplaats in Netherlands, among others. Adevinta already has rival classified sites in 15 countries in Europe and Latin America. Brands include LeBonCoin in France, Subito of Italy, OLX in Brazil and Milanuncios in Spain. France is its biggest market by far.
Adbrands Daily Update 14th Apr 2020: EBay named one-time employee Jamie Iannone, most recently COO of the ecommerce operation of Walmart-owned Sam's Club, as its new CEO. He takes over from interim chief Scott Schenkel, who returns to his previous role as CFO. Iannone previously worked for eBay from 2001 to 2009 before joining Barnes & Noble and later Walmart.
Adbrands Daily Update 5th Feb 2020: EBay has received a takeover offer from Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the company that owns the New York Stock Exchange. "ICE approached eBay to explore a range of potential opportunities that might create value for the shareholders of both companies," said the group in a statement. "EBay has not engaged in a meaningful way." No further details were disclosed, and the two companies are not currently in talks; however ICE is thought to have made two separate approaches. The reaction from ICE investors, however, was strongly negative, and the company later said it had withdrawn its interest.
Adbrands Daily Update 26th Nov 2019: EBay is quitting the ticketing business with an agreement to sell its resale portal StubHub to Europe-based rival Viagogo. The deal price is $4.05bn. The merger will reunite Viagogo's CEO Eric Baker with the business he co-founded in 2000. The two sites have a largely complementary fit: Viagogo is active primarily in Europe while StubHub sells mainly to North American customers.
Adbrands Weekly Update 25th Oct 2018: The UK arm of eBay has agreed to acquire local ecommerce site Motors.co.uk for an undisclosed sum. The business will be absorbed into eBay's Gumtree UK website to enhance its automobile sales operations. The vendor is US media group Cox, also the owner of Kelley Blue Book and AutoTrader.com in the US. The sale effectively ends Cox's involvement in direct-to-consumer car sales in the UK. Motors' last filed accounts showed turnover of £14m.
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