Though Carl Icahn is pushing EBAY to do a PayPal spinoff, the company insists shareholders are better served by the status quo, and justifies its view by pointing to the ties between PayPal and eBay's e-commerce ops.
Icahn's likely reasoning: PayPal is growing faster than the rest of eBay, and its online payments dominance would probably yield a premium valuation in the current environment. PayPal almost certainly accounts for over half of the $70.4B valuation eBay possessed as of today's close.
In Q4, PayPal's revenue rose 19% Y/Y (even with Q3), and accounted for the lion's share of the $1.84B in Payments revenue produced by eBay. Payments volume rose 25% Y/Y to $52B, fueled by 31% growth from non-eBay merchants (boosted by Braintree). Registered accounts rose by 5.2M Q/Q to 143M.
Marketplaces revenue rose 12% Y/Y (also even with Q3) to $2.23B, with GMV (exc. vehicles) rising 13% to $21.5B; the division has been losing share to Amazon. Fixed-price sales now make up 73% of GMV. Enterprise (formerly GSI Commerce) sales fell 2% to $392M.
PayPal and Marketplaces respectively produced $27B and $22B in 2013 mobile transaction volumes, beating prior guidance of $20B. 40% of Marketplaces' Q4 GMV involved "a mobile touch point."
$254M was spent on buybacks in Q4; that figure might grow in Q1. Opex rose 9% Y/Y, slower than revenue growth of 14%.
EBAY pares its gains, shares now +5.2% AH.