In the year since eBay (EBAY) - Get eBay Inc. Report spun off its online payments segment, PayPal Holdings, the online auction house and e-commerce entity has stood tall, surprising some detractors and investors, who were concerned about competition from Amazon.
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Shares of eBay have gained nearly 30% over the past three months, and second-quarter results beat expectations, prompting the company to increase its third-quarter and full-year guidance. Quarterly free cash flow has also remained strong, at more than $600 million.
In short, eBay is back with a bang.
The company was at the start of the ecommerce revolution, even before many understood what was about to happen.
Founded by tech visionary Pierre Omidyar in 1995, eBay is one of the rare success stories of the dot-com era. It is a multi-billion-dollar business with operations in more than 30 countries.
The company has a simple revenue model: Sellers are charged fees first for listing items and then pay more fees later when those items are sold. In addition to its auction-style sales, the eBay website carries online classified advertisements, online event ticket trading and the like.
In 2002, eBay bought independent company PayPal Holdings, which was co-founded by Tesla Motors Co-Founder and Chief Executive Elon Musk, for $1.5 billion.
In the past, there were concerns that eBay would forever play second fiddle to Amazon. However, after last year's PayPal Holdings spin-off, eBay has only grown in strength and focus.
One year into executing a new strategy, eBay is well on its way to being the world's most powerful selling platform.
In fact, the company's stock rose by more than 33% last month, buoyed by second-quarter results, higher guidance and the announcement of a new $2.5 billion share buyback program.
The company's marketplace segment had somewhat flat results for the quarter, but impressive gains were made by online ticket unit StubHub, which has been the company's best-performing business this year.
The marketplace platforms brought in $19.8 billion of the second-quarter gross merchandise value and $1.8 billion in revenue. Revenue rose by 3% on a foreign-exchange-neutral basis.
But StubHub's growth gathered additional speed in the quarter, with a GMV of $1.1 billion, up 35%.
Meanwhile, the company's classifieds segment had 15% revenue growth.
There is no doubting that eBay is on an upswing.
The company has surpassed the 1 billion live-listings mark for the first time. This not only emphasizes the extensiveness of the selection offered to consumers but also ratifies eBay's emergence as a platform for sellers.
Recent acquisitions of Expertmaker, which offers solutions powered by artificial intelligence; SalesPredict, which predicts customer buying behavior with advanced analytics; TicketBis, an international ticket marketplace; and Ticket Utils, which makes software for large ticket sellers, are also expected to add further zing to the company
A glance at eBay's balance sheet shows a solid $8.09 billion cash war chest, almost enough to pay off its $9 billion debt.
At an enterprise value-earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization valuation of less than 12 times, eBay is definitely a bargain, compared with peers such as Alibaba (38.67 times), Amazon (35.29 times), Mercadolibre (40.24 times) and Overstock.com (180.81 times).
There is a high likelikhood that eBay will adapt well to the changing digital landscape and its stock will continue to rise.
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This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.