A pair of investors, who hold a large stake in eBay, urged the company to either sell or spin-off StubHub and its classifieds unit in order to shift focus onto its Marketplace.
New York investors Elliot Management Corp. and Starboard Value LP called on eBay to cut ties with the San Francisco-based ticketing company earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal reports. Both Elliot and Starboard want eBay to make the change because it would improve the company’s margins and offer both firms a decent payout; Elliot owns more than a 4 percent stake in eBay, while Starboard owns less than 4 percent.
Mercury News obtained a letter to eBay’s board from Elliot, claiming that its $1.4 billion stake in the company makes it one of eBay’s largest shareholders. The letter offered a plan to help boost eBay’s value from a $55 to $63 share in the next few years.
“Elliott believes that eBay is worth far more – but change is urgently needed to address both public perceptions and real business issues,” Jesse Cohn, a partner at Elliott, wrote. He called these issues “prolonged, self-inflicted misexecution” which caused eBay’s Marketplace to be “deeply undervalued.”
Additionally, Elliot believes eBay needs to improve Marketplace’s technology and operations.
“Despite its remarkable history as one of the world’s largest e-commerce platforms, eBay as a public-company investment has underperformed both its peers and the market for a prolonged period of time,” the letter said.
An eBay spokesman responded, noting that they “appreciate Elliot’s recognition of the strength and power of eBay’s business and will carefully review and evaluate Elliot’s proposals.”
Back in 2002, eBay tried to buy StubHub for $20 million, but failed to secure the deal. However, in 2007, it successfully bought the company for $310 million. Previously, billionaire investor Carl Icahn urged eBay to split with PayPal Holdings Inc., which eBay eventually spun off.