EBay sells $2.25 billion Adevinta stake to secure classified ads tie-up

The eBay app is seen on a smartphone in this illustration taken
The eBay app is seen on a smartphone in this illustration taken, July 13, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

July 14, 2021

By Victoria Klesty and Radhika Anilkumar

OSLO (Reuters) -EBay Inc has agreed to sell part of its stake in Norway’s Adevinta to private equity firm Permira for $2.25 billion in cash, clearing the way for a tie-up between eBay and Adevinta’s classified ads businesses.

The deal comes after Austria’s Federal Competition Authority demanded eBay cut its holding in Adevinta to no more than 33% to approve their plan to create a world leader in classified ads.

Approval in Austria, which had raised concerns about the impact on competition in its market, was the last regulatory hurdle for the tie-up.

“The transaction announced today with Permira provides a clear path to satisfying this commitment, while delivering value to eBay shareholders,” the U.S. e-commerce giant said on Wednesday.

EBay will sell 125 million Adevinta shares, or a 10.2% stake, to Permira, leaving the U.S. firm with a 34% holding. Permira has a 30-day option to buy an additional 10 million shares at the same price, reducing eBay’s stake to 33%.

Last year, Adevinta agreed to buy eBay’s Classifieds Group in return for $2.5 billion in cash and 540 million shares, valuing the transaction at about $13 billion at current stock market prices.

Media company Schibsted, which had a majority stake in Adevinta after spinning off the unit in 2019 and holds 33% following the deal with eBay, said it welcomed the transaction.

The deal between eBay and Permira is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year, Adevinta said.

Permira advises funds with total committed capital of approximately 44 billion euros ($52 billion) and Permira partner Dipan Patel will join Adevinta’s board of directors, it added.

Shares in Adevinta were up 1% to 177.50 crowns at 0803 GMT.

($1 = 0.8479 euros)

(Reporting by Victoria Klesty in Oslo and Radhika Anilkumar in BengaluruEditing by Edmund Blair and Mark Potter)