Activist investor Starboard Value LP is easing off on its pressure against eBay, which issued a press release today containing a joint statement from the two companies.
Last month, Starboard Value had nominated four candidates to the eBay board, which would have been up for vote at eBay’s annual shareholder meeting this spring. Starboard had also pressured eBay to move quickly in naming a new CEO and urged it to select an external candidate.
Starboard has now withdrawn its board candidates from consideration following eBay’s naming of Walmart executive Jamie Iannone as its new CEO. Starboard’s managing member Peter Feld was quoted in today’s press release saying he was excited to build a relationship with the incoming CEO (whose official start date is April 27) and said, “we look forward to sharing our views with him on the opportunities we see to drive improvements in the Marketplace business.”
He also noted he was pleased with the “recent confirmation that eBay has been exploring potential value-creating alternatives for Classifieds with multiple parties.”
eBay agreed to name a new independent director to its Board in the next few months and will consider the individuals Starboard nominated. One nominee includes Stephanie Tilenius, who had worked with Jamie Iannone at eBay over a decade ago.
eBay also revealed it will hold its annual shareholder meeting in June. Rival Amazon announced today it will hold its shareholder meeting on May 27th.
We had asked sellers in this post on the EcommerceBytes Blog if they thought eBay’s decision to select a Walmart executive would lead to the “Amazonification” of eBay – meaning a more catalog approach focused on commodity goods. One seller said perhaps the fact the incoming CEO had been at eBay in its early years when it was focused on unique and used goods signaled a “re-eBayification” direction for the company.
Presumably in whatever direction the Board has decided to move, Iannone is in agreement, since the Board, which includes representatives from two activist investors, said its selection of Iannone was unanimous.
The eBay press release follows:
eBay and Starboard Value Issue Statement
eBay Inc. (“eBay” or the “Company”) and Starboard Value LP (together with its affiliates, “Starboard”) today issued a joint statement. Following the hiring of Jamie Iannone as eBay’s new CEO, Starboard has withdrawn its nomination of director candidates for election at eBay’s 2020 Annual Meeting of Stockholders. The Company anticipates holding the 2020 Annual Meeting in June.
In addition, eBay has announced today that the Company expects to name a new independent director to its Board in the next few months and, as part of its evaluation process of potential director candidates, it will consider the individuals Starboard nominated.
Tom Tierney, eBay’s Chairman of the Board, said, “We appreciate Starboard’s thoughtful and constructive dialogue over the past 20 months, including their recent identification of highly-qualified Board candidates, whom we look forward to meeting. This conclusion best positions our Company and our new Chief Executive Officer to move forward and achieve all that we and Starboard hope can be accomplished for our stockholders, employees, and community of buyers and sellers.”
Peter Feld, Managing Member of Starboard, said, “We appreciate the constructive relationship we have with eBay’s Board of Directors and management team. We are pleased with the Company’s actions taken in connection with its strategic portfolio review, including the completed sale of StubHub and the recent confirmation that eBay has been exploring potential value-creating alternatives for Classifieds with multiple parties, and we are excited about the hiring of an accomplished CEO in Jamie Iannone. We commend the Board on these actions, which are aligned with our recommendations and our shared goal of long-term stockholder value creation. We are excited to build a relationship with Jamie, and we look forward to sharing our views with him on the opportunities we see to drive improvements in the Marketplace business.”