NYSE Owner’s eBay Acquisition Was On, Then Quickly Off

The Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), owner of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), announced plans to acquire eBay’s marketplace business in a deal estimated at $30 billion. Two days later, the potential deal was off.

The reason for the reversal? Investors pushed back hard, apparently.

According to CNBC, after the takeover news became public Feb. 4, eBay shares rose 8.7% but ICE stock fell 7.4%. The Wall Street Journal said ICE stock fell another 3% Feb. 6, erasing more than $5 billion in market value.

After the markets closed Feb. 6, ICE said it was shelving any potential deal. “Based on investor conversations following today’s ICE earnings call, ICE has decided to cease exploring strategic opportunities with eBay,” an ICE statement said.

The decision came roughly 48 hours after the whirlwind began in earnest with another ICE statement confirming the Wall Street Journal’s report but also saying eBay hadn’t engaged. “ICE approached eBay to explore a range of potential opportunities that might create value for the shareholders of both companies,” that statement said. “eBay has not engaged in a meaningful way. We are not in negotiations regarding the sale of all or part of eBay.”

In a statement to CNBC, an eBay spokesperson said, “The eBay Board is aligned and open to all value-enhancing alternatives. The board is highly engaged and has acted, and will continue to act, consistent with its focus on shareholder value.”

The Wall Street Journal noted ICE had approached the marketplace about acquiring the online marketplace, not the classifieds business.

ICE reported Q4 consolidated net income of $448 million on $1.3 billion of consolidated revenue. For the full year, consolidated net income was $1.9 billion on $5.2 billion of consolidated revenue.

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