eBay To Hive Off Enterprise Unit Ahead Of Split With PayPal

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EBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY) plans to select a buyer for its enterprise division by July 1, when the e-commerce company plans to officially split off its PayPal division, people familiar with the matter said.

Private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners is one of the remaining bidders, said the people, who asked not to be named because the negotiations are private. A sale could value the unit between $1 billion and $1.5 billion, the people said.

EBay shares rose 0.9 percent to $60.56 Tuesday, giving it a market value of about $73 billion.

EBay announced in January it would sell or conduct an initial public offering for the unit. The enterprise business helps retailers develop and run online shopping sites. EBay Chief Executive Officer John Donahoe said then that the unit had “limited synergies” with either EBay’s marketplace business or PayPal.

“We’re exploring strategic alternatives,” EBay spokeswoman Johnna Hoff said without elaborating. A spokeswoman for TH Lee declined to comment.

EBay Enterprise, previously called GSI Commerce, helps retailers sell clothing, sporting goods, toys, and other products online by providing software, customer service and a network of warehouses and delivery partners that can reach 60 countries. EBay acquired GSI in 2011 for about $2 billion in an attempt to catch up to rival Amazon.com Inc.’s vast distribution network.

Like EBay’s online marketplace business, EBay Enterprise sales growth has lagged overall e-commerce. The segment had first quarter sales of $288 million, up 7 percent from the same period a year earlier.

PayPal will begin trading as a separate public company on the Nasdaq, under the ticker symbol PYPL

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