eBay should spin off PayPal, says Carl Icahn

By Sooraj Shah
23 Jan 2014 View Comments

Activist investor Carl Icahn has encouraged e-commerce firm eBay to spin off its payments business, PayPal, claiming that it is a "no brainer".

Icahn, who has a stake of $3bn in Apple, said that he had acquired a 0.82 per cent stake in eBay and has nominated two Icahn Enterprises employees to sit on the eBay board.

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In response, the firm, which has been grappling in the e-commerce space with Amazon, said that it has "explored in depth a spin-off or separation of PayPal".

However, it said that the company is "best served by the current strategic direction and does not believe that breaking up the company is the best way to maximise shareholder value".

"As part of eBay, PayPal is able to leverage the company's technology capabilities, commerce platforms and relationships with retailers, brands and large merchants worldwide. Payment is part of commerce, and as part of eBay, PayPal drives commerce innovation in payments at global scale, creating value for consumers, merchants and shareholders," it said in a statement.

The company's shares rose as much as 12 per cent yesterday after eBay had disclosed Icahn's stake, closing at $54.41 a share.

Icahn had told Bloomberg TV that eBay "hasn't done as well as it should have", before calling for a separation of PayPal - of which sales had increased by 19 per cent last quarter - to boost value.

But eBay believes that keeping PayPal aligned with eBay will ensure that both the payments and marketplace units' strategies are better focused.

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