Adevinta buys eBay's classifieds business for $9.2bn

The transaction will create the world’s largest classifieds company.

Posted Wednesday, July 22nd 2020
Adevinta buys eBay's classifieds business for $9.2bn

Norwegian classified ads publisher Adevinta has acquired eBay’s classified ads business for $9.2 billion, giving eBay a 44% equity stake – and 33.3% voting stake – in Adevinta.

Owned by Norwegian publisher Schibsted, which has transcended its mid-19th-century roots to become an online entertainment and e-commerce giant with revenues of around $1.7 billion, Adevinta has paid a high premium for the business, beating out a private equity consortium that included Blackstone, Permira and Hellman & Friedman; earlier in the week its bid was $8 billion. The classifieds sector is currently struggling in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, but Adevinta is betting on its resurgence as social distancing becomes a thing of the past.

eBay seems to have driven a hard bargain spurred on by activist investors who have long led calls for the company to divest itself of various of its businesses. Having acquired PayPal in 2002 for $1.5 billion, the online marketplace giant span it off in 2015; it went on to sell ticketing company Stubhub to Viagogo for $4 billion eight months ago.

Adevinta’s acquisition gives it a footprint of 20 countries for its classified ads; the company is hoping for synergies of up to $185 million. eBay’s classifieds business includes brands such as Kijiji and Gumtree, and offers online ads to over 1,000 cities globally. But this may be just the first in several strategic moves by the Norwegian company, whose CEO Rolv Erik Ryssdal has already spoken of “other players in the industry that also would be very welcome in this family”, and of “opportunities to extend the family even further”.

Meanwhile, Schibsted’s stake in Adevinta has fallen from 59% to 33%. The deal is the largest Norway has seen in over a decade.

 

Legal advisor to Adevinta: Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom

Financial advisor to Adevinta: Citigroup

Legal advisor to eBay: Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

Financial advisor to eBay: Goldman Sachs; Liontree