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Jan 28, 2020

eBay gives lacklustre forecast following management shakeup

A parcel in eBay Inc. packaging is seen on a conveyor belt with other small parcels at the United States Postal Service. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

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EBay Inc. issued a lackluster revenue and earnings forecast, showing that problems with stagnant growth persist following a management shakeup last year and the sale of its tickets marketplace, StubHub.

Earnings in the current quarter will be 50 to 53 cents a share on sales of US$2.55 to US$2.60 billion, the company said Tuesday. The forecast missed analysts’ average estimates of 71 cents a share on revenue of US$2.64 billion.

The San Jose-based company reported fourth-quarter revenue of US$2.8 billion and profit excluding some costs of 81 cents per share, beating analysts’ average estimates of 75 cents a share.

Years of stagnant sales growth have diminished EBay’s position in an online commerce market that’s dominated in the U.S. by Amazon.com Inc. Activist investors Elliott Management Corp. and Starboard Value last year began pushing for changes at EBay including shedding ticket-resale site StubHub and the classified ads business.

Devin Wenig, who clashed with the activists as chief executive officer, was ousted in September after failing to expand the marketplace platform and opposing the sale of businesses. In November, EBay announced the sale of StubHub to Switzerland’s Viagogo for US$4.05 billion. Scott Schenkel, previously chief financial officer, has been serving as interim CEO since Wenig’s departure.

EBay reported gross merchandise volume, the value of all goods sold on its platforms, of US$23.3 billion, down 5 per cent from a year earlier and its fourth-straight decline.

“It’s more of the same in terms of slowing growth,” said Victor Anthony, an analyst at Aegis Capital Corp. “The headwinds are still there.”

The shares fell about 2.5 per cent in extended trading on Tuesday, after closing in New York at US$36.21. They have gained about 6 per cent over the past 12 months, compared with a 24 per cent increase in the S&P 500 Index.