US ecommerce giant eBay said it is making “significant progress” in determining the role of StubHub in its portfolio, with signs continuing to pointing to a sale of the secondary ticketing marketplace.
Activist shareholder pressure earlier this year prompted eBay to agree to consider a sale of the San Francisco-based ticket operation, which has quickly risen to become a dominant player in resales of US sports tickets. Since that move in March, eBay has initiated a strategic review of both StubHub and its classified advertising unit.
Devin Wenig, eBay president and chief executive, did not detail the specifics of where that strategic review now stands or future timetables. But his confirmation of the progress made to date and continued market expectations of a StubHub sale has helped prompt a 35-per-cent bump in the company’s stock price so far this year. The stock jumped another 5 per cent at the opening bell of the US market on July 18.
“We’re focused on determining the best path forward to create shareholder value,” Wenig said.
Should StubHub be sold, it would represent a tidal shift in the US sports ticketing landscape. The company has official relationships with hundreds of pro and college teams and leagues, notably Major League Baseball and the National Football League, and it has also helped spur industry adoption of mobile-based ticketing. A StubHub sale would likely fetch at least several billion dollars.
StubHub, meanwhile, generated $264m (€235m) in revenue for its first fiscal quarter ended June 30, up 7 per cent from the comparable period last year, and $1.1bn in gross sales, up 5 per cent. Company executives in part credited longer playoff series in both the National Basketball Association and National Hockey League, and additional resulting sales from those extra games, as well as strong markets for the Champions League final and Women’s World Cup for the growth.