EBay May Sell or Spin Off StubHub Ticketing Unit at Urging of Activist Investors

Responding to pressure from activist investors, eBay announced that it has initiated a strategic review of its assets — which may include the sale or spinoff of its StubHub ticket-resale unit.

The ecommerce company also said it is evaluating options for the eBay Classifieds Group. EBay announced the review after activist hedge fund Elliott Management, which acquired more than 4% interest in eBay in January, urged the company to divest StubHub and the classifieds group, arguing in a letter to management that the assets were undervalued. Starboard Value, another activist investor group that holds a 1% stake in eBay, made a similar appeal.

StubHub claims to be the world’s largest ticket marketplace with tickets available for over 10 million live sports, music and theatrer events in more than 40 countries. StubHub was acquired by eBay in 2007 for $310 million.

For the fourth quarter of 2018, StubHub had revenue of $314 million, up 2% year-over-year, on gross ticket sales of $1.41 billion (down 2%). EBay’s Classifieds platforms posted revenue of $263 million for the period, while its core Marketplace business generated $2.3 billion in revenue.

Also Friday, eBay named Jesse Cohn, Elliott Management’s head of U.S. equity activism, and Marvell Technology president and CEO Matt Murphy to its board. The company also announced that it plans to add a third new independent director later in the year.

Devin Wenig, president and CEO of eBay, said the company decided to move forward with the changes after meeting with shareholders over the last two months. “The bottom line is that we all share common ground: we see tremendous opportunity ahead and want to see eBay’s full potential realized over the long-term,” Wenig said in a statement. “The initiatives we are announcing today are the result of this constructive dialogue.”

In a Jan. 22 letter to eBay’s board, Elliott’s Cohn claimed that strategic changes by eBay could increase its value 75%-100% from its current stock price. “StubHub and eBay’s portfolio of Classifieds properties represent high-value, strategic assets that are worth meaningfully more than the value currently being ascribed to them as part of eBay,” the letter said in part. Cohn also recommended other changes, including “revitalizing” eBay’s Marketplace is after “prolonged, self-inflicted misexecution” and cutting costs to increase operational efficiency.

More Digital


    SAG-AFTRA Ends Long Strike Against Ad Agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty

    SAG-AFTRA has ended its 10-month strike against Bartle Bogle Hegarty after the advertising agency agreed to sign the union’s new commercials contract. The union instructed its 160,000 members in September not to accept any work for BBH, which had been signed to SAG-AFTRA’s commercials contracts since 1999. The strike came two weeks after BBH publicly [...]

  • FaceApp is displayed on an iPhone,

    SAG-AFTRA Warns Members About FaceApp Terms of Use

    SAG-AFTRA is warning its 160,000 members about the “overreaching and invasive” terms of use for the FaceApp mobile application. FaceApp, developed by Russian company Wireless Lab, uses neural network technology to automatically generate transformations of faces in photographs. The app can be used to make users appear older, younger, or change gender. The terms include [...]

  • J. Cole

    Apple Music Launches 'Rap Life' Playlist

    Apple Music announced the launch of “Rap Life,” a new global playlist focusing on contemporary rap artists and culture. It replaces the former “The A-List: Hip-Hop” playlist. Said Ebro Darden, Apple Music’s Global Editorial Head of Hip-Hop and R&B: “We flipped it to dig deeper into into the lifestyle [and to] keep pushing the culture [...]

  • Billie Eilish

    ARRI, Mobile TV Group Back New Venture Revitalizing Streamed Concerts

    A new venture looking to bring a fresh approach to live-streaming concerts has gotten the backing of hardware heavyweights ARRI and Mobile TV Group. Wide+Close is launching with the mandate of shooting music performances with film cameras and cinematographers in order to give the content a more cinematic feel. “We want to take concert filming [...]

  • Fortnite Battle Royale

    How 'Fortnite' Fans Can Earn Loot by Watching YouTube Videos

    Epic Games and YouTube have teamed up with a special offer for “Fortnite” players — giving players of the popular battle-royale game rewards when they watch “Fortnite”-premiered content on the video platform. The catch: You have to watch at least 20 minutes of “Fortnite” special content or live esports broadcasts to receive the loot. Under [...]

  • Roku headquarters

    Roku Plans to Expand to Brazil, Other Countries (EXCLUSIVE)

    Roku plans to expand to multiple new territories in the coming months, Variety has learned. One of the first new markets for the company will likely be Brazil. An international expansion could help Roku grow its customer base, which in turn should lead to growing advertising revenues. Roku executives have been hinting at plans to [...]

  • Google Stadia Pro to Include 1

    Google’s Stadia Game Streaming Service to Include Free Monthly Game

    Google has been busy sharing additional details about its upcoming game streaming service Stadia, clearing up some confusion in the process. Stadia’s pro subscription tier, which will cost $10 per month, won’t be a Netflix-type subscription service. However, subscribers will get free games at the rate of about a title per month. That’s according to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content