eBay’s having a good year and is very much on the ascendancy after a fair few years in the doldrums. What’s the reason for the boost? Three things: they’ve made an investment in technology and innovation that is now starting to pay off, the opportunity provided by mobile has been successfully seized and PayPal continues to be a highly profitable part of the business.
So, when all is going well, what happens? Yes, the rumour mill grinds into action and soon there is discourse on who will buy eBay. Recent chat reflects that eBay is well priced with a bright future and the only realistic possible buyers are Google and Microsoft (they have deep enough pockets).
And Google seems to be fancied as the better fit. Although reports that Microsoft have dropped Project Brazil might suggest they are in the market for a marketplace.
A piece on Seeking Alpha is worth dipping into: “In a world of impetuous, hair-brained M&A activity, the word “synergy” has become a bit of a cliché. In the case of a holy union between Google and Ebay, the synergies are glaring. With the data Google possesses on web searchers and the ability to enhance eBay sales with all of its many properties, it would become a clear case of the whole being worth more than the sum of its parts.”
I’m uncertain. It may have been a long time since I worked at eBay but I don’t think that the cultures at eBay and Google are that similar. Also, I always detected an independent streak at eBay that I suspect means they would never submit to the yoke of anyone else.
Moreover, eBay’s been around the block now and celebrates its 18th birthday this September and is doing well. I’m unconvinced that eBay would submit to a takeover while things are looking so rosy.