Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the owner of the New York Stock Exchange, has reportedly made an offer to take over eBay in a move that might value the company at over $30 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal.
This isn’t the first time ICE has talked to eBay about a potential sale, and it happened again recently, according to WSJ. There have been no formal talks, and the takeover isn’t guaranteed. The deal would be worth billions, and ICE would probably have to pay a premium.
ICE wants to take over eBay’s core marketplace business and not the company’s classified unit, which eBay had reportedly said it was considering selling. Analysts said the classified unit could be sold in the area of $10 billion. ICE could potentially want to use its own technology connecting buyers and sellers to eBay’s site.
Activist investor group Starboard Value recently sent eBay a letter saying that eBay should sell its online classified unit. Starboard was instrumental in getting eBay to jettison StubHub last year at a price of $4.05 billion. Apparently, the company has been pressuring eBay for around a year.
In September, German publishing house Axel Springer reportedly made an offer, but a deal never actually happened. The online marketplace’s classified business made $269 million in fourth-quarter revenue, which is up 3 percent as reported and 6 percent on an FX-Neutral basis.