Fri, Jan 23, 2015 - Page 15 News List

EBay cuts 7 percent of workforce

RESTRUCTURING:The e-commerce giant is laying off 2,400 workers to simplify the organization, facilitate decisionmaking and stay competitive, its CEO said

AFP, NEW YORK

E-commerce giant eBay Inc will slash 2,400 jobs — 7 percent of its workforce — in the current quarter as it restructures and prepares to spin off its PayPal finance unit, the company said on Wednesday.

California-based eBay unveiled the move even as it announced its profit in the fourth quarter rose to US$936 million on US$4.9 billion in revenue.

The job cuts will be across eBay’s three divisions: Marketplaces, Enterprise and PayPal.

“We are on the right strategic path, and we are acting decisively and aggressively as we position eBay and PayPal for success,” eBay CEO John Donahoe said.

The reorganization will return eBay to its roots with the “Marketplaces” division, which includes its auctions and online retail sales and accounted for nearly half its revenue last year.

Donahoe said the job cuts were necessary “to simplify the organization, reduce complexity, speed decisionmaking and create competitive cost structures.”

SPINOFF

EBay announced plans last year to spin off PayPal amid pressure from activist shareholder Carl Icahn, and said the move would help the unit compete better in the fast-moving online payments segment.

In a further move to refocus, eBay said it would likely also shed its Enterprise division, which creates online sites for traditional retailers, in a sale or public offering to create an independent company.

“Enterprise is a strong business and a leading partner for large retailers, managing mission-critical components of their e-commerce initiatives,” a statement said.

“However, it has become clear that it has limited synergies with either business and a separation will allow both to focus exclusively on their core markets, as we create two independent world-class companies,” it said.

EBay said it reached a “standstill agreement” with Icahn that calls for Icahn Capital executive Jonathan Christodoro to be named to eBay’s board.

Icahn said in a separate statement that Christodoro would “have the ability to transition to PayPal’s board once the spinoff occurs.”

The deal also includes limits on any “poison pill” for PayPal that could block a proposed buyout.

“PayPal’s charter documents will contain a number of corporate governance provisions that we suggested and which we believe will greatly enhance shareholder value at PayPal,” Icahn said.

Donahoe said the overall company is in good shape ahead of the reorganization, which will spin off PayPal in the second half of the year.

EBay’s fourth-quarter net income rose 10 percent to US$936 million, exceeding analyst forecasts.

NEW ENTRANTS

PayPal accounted for 44 percent of eBay’s revenue last year, but it is facing new challenges amid a shift to mobile payments and new entrants to the market, such as Apple Inc and Google Inc.

EBay said it had made progress in boosting sales to customers using mobile devices. Mobile payment volume grew to US$45.6 billion for the full year, representing 20 percent of total sales volume.

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