CNBC is reporting that e-commerce giant eBay is exploring a potential sale of StubHub, with “multiple” parties interested in the potential acquisition of the ticket resale marketplace. Company stock (NASDAQ: EBAY) jumped more than 2% on Monday with the news.
The rumors of the sale follow the announcement of a strategic portfolio review in March, brought on at least in part by activist pressure from investors, most notably Elliot Management and Starboard Value LP. The New York-based companies began pushing for eBay to consider shedding both StubHub and its classifieds business to focus on its core marketplace in January.
“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 in a letter to eBay reported by the Mercury News. He called these issues “prolonged, self-inflicted misexecution” which caused eBay’s Marketplace to be “deeply undervalued.”
“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.
Elliot Management reportedly owns a stake of more than four percent of eBay. Starboard has a smaller, but still significant, stake in the California-based company.
It is unclear who the potential interested parties might be. StubHub has long been a market leader in secondary ticketing, and has a considerable market share, as well as integrations with several teams and leagues, most notably Major League Baseball and the NFL.