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eBay close to $9bn deal to combine classified ads business with Norway’s Adevinta

The exact terms of the $9bn deal are not yet known but would give eBay a significant stake in the European group

eBay is close to a $9bn agreement to combine its classified advertising business with Norway’s Adevinta in a deal that would give it a significant stake in the European group, five people close to the matter have said.  

The eBay classifieds business includes Gumtree and Canada’s Kijiji, along with vehicle marketplaces in Denmark, Germany, Italy and the UK, such as motors.co.uk. 

The selection of Adevinta came after a series of board meetings on Friday and Saturday in which eBay chief executive Jamie Iannone convinced the US company’s directors that it should hold on to exposure of the classifieds unit. 

The exact terms of the $9bn deal with Adevinta are not yet known but the proposal includes a significant stock component that makes its offer stand out against rival bidders.  

It is said those bidders, which include Hellman & Friedman and Blackstone, as well as a separate bid from Prosus, the Dutch-listed arm of South Africa’s Naspers, offered mostly cash to eBay for the unit. 

By merging rather than selling the unit, eBay would also be able to save on taxes that would have otherwise been due from a disposal. Adevinta was spun-off from Schibsted in April 2019 and currently has a market capitalisation of NKr79bn ($8.5bn). 

Schibsted owns about 60 per cent of the company before any dilution that will result from the eBay deal.  

The deal could be announced as soon as Monday as bankers and lawyers for both eBay and Adevinta look to complete paperwork around the transaction, the people said. They cautioned, however, that the deal has not yet been signed. 

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