Layoffs Possibility Notwithstanding, eBay Wants To Buy Classified Startups

Rumors are floating around that eBay (NSDQ: EBAY) is going to lay off about 10 percent of its 15,000 employees, attributable mainly to an analyst at Wedge Partners, a small Colorado investment-research firm. And while the company has refused to comment on it, it makes sense that eBay will do some rationalization of its business considering its declining profits and stagnant traffic. Despite that, the company is interested in making some more acquisitions in the online classifieds space, according to Jacob Aqraou, GM of eBay’s global classified business. He told WSJ that the company will take over a “fair” number of companies in the next six months or so. With the market being what it is, and the valuations coming down, the company is looking at sites that have leading positions in geographies and industry segments in which eBay doesn’t currently compete. Eastern Europe and Scandinavia as regional priorities, and areas of coverage includes those that serve professionals, such as car dealers and real-estate agents, as well as individual consumers.

eBay owns 25 percent of Craigslist (along with the recent lawsuits), and has bought sites worldwide including Germany’s Mobile.de, Marktplaats of the Netherlands, Spain’s Loquo and India’s Bazee. It also launched Kijiji, a classifieds site available in more than 20 countries including U.S. The classifieds business is estimated to generate between 5 percent and 10 percent of the company’s $7.7 billion in annual revenue, the story said.

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