EBay Enterprise Arm ‘Close’ To £650m Sale

Private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners is reportedly nearing a takeover of eBay’s GSI Commerce arm

Private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners is close to securing a $1bn (£650m) deal to acquire the online auction site’s enterprise arm, according to Reuters.

Officially known as GSI Commerce, eBay’s enterprise businesses helps retailers around the world develop and improve their online presence and e-commerce capabilities.

Up for grabs

eBay © Ingvar Bjork, SHutterstock 2014

Acquired by eBay for $2.4 billion (£1.54bn) in 2011, the unit has struggled over the past few years as many former clients choose to move their ecommerce operations in-house.

Any sale will mark another milestone in eBay’s evolution following the split of its PayPal business earlier this year.

eBay said in January it would be exploring possible options for the business as it did not fit in with the company’s overall strategy alongside the likes of PayPal and marketplace services, despite making $288 million (£185m) in revenues in its first quarter results.

Now, Thomas H. Lee appears to be close to firming up a deal, with reports suggesting an agreement could be in place as early as next week once the final details have been thrashed out. Neither Thomas H. Lee or eBay provided comment to Reuters on the reports.

A sale of this scale would help eBay as it continues to plough through a painful restructuring process kick-started by its largest shareholder, Carl Icahn.

Following a long period of pressure, Icahn finally forced through changes earlier this year which, asides from the spinning off of PayPal, will also see eBay cut up to 2,400 jobs and reduce profit expectations for the year ahead.

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