• EBay 4th quarter net income and revenue was down compared to last year
  • ICE reportedly has approached eBay in the past but there have been no formal talks
  • Activist shareholder Starboard Value LP is pressuring eBay to sell off the classified unit

The Intercontinental Exchange Inc. (ICE) offered to buy eBay Inc. in a deal that could be worth more than $30 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

ICE, which owns the New York Stock Exchange, and eBay currently are not involved in formal talks, sources told the Journal, but ICE has approached eBay in the past and again more recently.

ICE reportedly is interested in eBay’s core marketplace, not its classified unit, which reportedly is valued at $8 billion to $12 billion.

EBay, which has run into stiff competition from Amazon and Walmart, still is looking for a permanent CEO following the September departure of Devin Wenig over the remake of the company’s board.

The company projects 2020 growth at 1% to 3%, with earnings expected to rise 4% to 8%. EBay, however, still struggling with negative volumes, especially in the U.S.

EBay released fourth quarter results last week that showed net income of $661 million, down from $670 million in the year ago quarter. Net revenue totaled $2.8 billion, down 2% from 2018’s final quarter. Growth in the buyer pool fell to 2%, half the previous growth rate.

Nasdaq reports eBay has plenty of cash on hand and that stockpile will increase by mid-year when the $4 billion sale of StubHub is expected to close.

On Tuesday, activist shareholder Starboard Value LP put more pressure on eBay to sell its classifieds division to improve shareholder value.

“To achieve the optimal outcome, we believe classifieds must be separated, and a more comprehensive and aggressive operating plan must be put in place to drive profitable growth in the core Marketplace business,” Starboard said in a letter to eBay’s board. EBay responded by saying it will review the letter.

Monday eBay announced it would end support for Turbo Lister in July, a simple desktop tool used by sellers that saves drafts and works more easily with slow internet connections.

"I still use TL for almost all of my new listings," one reader told EcommerceBytes. "EBay cannot seem to get a handle on draft retention. Now you see it - now you don't! - and they have no idea where it went."