eBay Marketplaces gross merchandise volume (GMV) grew a measly 2% in the all-important fourth quarter of 2014, with the U.S. up 3% and International up 1%. eBay said it would prioritize its resources towards "core shoppers" and its Deals business for its Marketplaces business.
eBay's conference call with analysts is at 5:00 pm EST today, here is the company's press release announcing fourth quarter 2014 earnings, you can view the full release with tables on eBay's investor relations website.
eBay Inc. Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year Results
Global commerce platform and payments leader eBay (Nasdaq:EBAY) today reported that revenue for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2014 increased 9% to $4.9 billion, compared to the same period in 2013. GAAP earnings were $936 million or $0.75 per diluted share, and Non-GAAP earnings were $1.1 billion or $0.90 per diluted share, driven by enabled commerce volume growth of 21%.
eBay Inc.’s commerce and payments ecosystems continued to increase the role they play in global commerce with mobile gaining share. Mobile payment volume grew 58% in the fourth quarter to $45.6 billion for the full year representing 20% of total volume. Mobile commerce volume grew 30% in the fourth quarter to $27.9 billion for the full year representing 34% of total volume. In the fourth quarter, cross-border trade grew 20%, representing 21% of total company ECV.
"In a year of unexpected events and distractions, we ended 2014 with double-digit revenue growth, solid earnings growth and strong cash flow, reflecting the fundamental strengths of our company," said John Donahoe, president and CEO of eBay Inc. "PayPal had another strong quarter, finishing an excellent year. eBay, while facing challenges, continues to be a great business and is focused on stabilizing performance and engaging its core customers. Looking ahead, our plans are on track to separate eBay and PayPal into independent companies in the second half of 2015, and we are confident this is the right strategic path for each business."
PayPal net total payment volume (TPV) grew 24% in the fourth quarter with Merchant Services volume up 33% and on-eBay volume up 3%. Revenue grew to $2.2 billion. PayPal gained 4.6 million new active registered accounts in the quarter and 18.9 million for the full year, up 13% to 162 million. Global on-eBay penetration increased to 80.8%. PayPal product innovations and investment to make payments simple and easier resulted in accelerating transaction growth, up 25% in the quarter, representing more than 3.6 billion transactions for the full year.
eBay Marketplaces gross merchandise volume (GMV) grew 2%, with the U.S. up 3% and International up 1%. Revenue grew to $2.3 billion. Marketplaces gained 2.9 million new buyers in the quarter and 14.9 million for the full year, up 11% to 155 million. Traffic was impacted by both the decline in new users due to SEO changes and the occasional buyer not returning to our site or being met with increased friction due to the password reset when they did come. In addition, the rising dollar negatively impacted export volume in the U.S. We are taking decisive action to focus the business in an effort to simplify and speed up decision making while re-aligning the cost structure to create capacity to invest. We are prioritizing our resources towards our core shoppers and we are doubling down on areas of strength like our $2 billion GMV Deals business.
eBay Enterprise gross merchandise sales (GMS) grew 9% in the quarter. Revenue grew to $443 million. Enterprise enabled its clients to grow same-store sales 12%. Enterprise signed up more than one thousand new clients and renewed or extended its relationship with more than 1,700 additional clients in 2014. It continues to expand its omnichannel capabilities, delivering $1 billion in ship from store sales in 2014, and broaden Magento's reach and global ecosystem. Enterprise supports merchants across the entire customer experience journey - from getting new shoppers into clients’ brick-and-mortar and online stores and inspiring them to buy - to delivering the goods and turning customers into loyal repeat buyers.
Looking forward to 2015, we will be simplifying organizational structures to focus the businesses and ensure that we are set-up to compete and win. During the first quarter, we plan to reduce our workforce globally by approximately 2,400 positions which a represents about 7% of our total workforce across eBay Marketplaces, PayPal, and eBay Enterprise. We will also be exploring strategic options for eBay Enterprise, including a sale or IPO. Enterprise is a strong business and a leading partner for large retailers, managing mission critical components of their e-commerce initiatives. However, it has become clear that it has limited synergies with either business and a separation will allow both to focus exclusively on their core markets, as we create two independent world class companies.
The company also announced today that it has entered into a standstill agreement with investor Carl Icahn, the company’s largest active shareholder. In addition to certain corporate governance provisions to be adopted by PayPal as an independent company at the time of its spin-off from eBay Inc., the agreement also appoints Icahn Capital executive Jonathan Christodoro to eBay Inc.’s current Board of Directors. On September 30, 2014, eBay Inc. announced that its board of directors had approved a plan to separate the company’s eBay and PayPal businesses into two independent publicly traded companies in 2015, subject to customary conditions. The agreement with Mr. Icahn allows him to determine which board Mr. Christodoro will serve on at the time of separation.
In a separate press release today, the company also announced the appointment of seasoned Wall Street executives Frank Yeary and Perry Traquina to its board of directors. These appointments bring the total number of directors to 15, 13 of whom are independent.
Other Selected Financial and Operational Results
Operating margin - GAAP operating margin decreased to 21.6% for the fourth quarter of 2014, compared to 22.6% for the same period last year. Non-GAAP operating margin decreased to 27.7% in the fourth quarter, compared to 29.2% for the same period last year.
Taxes - The GAAP effective tax rate for the fourth quarter of 2014 was 11.2%, compared to 17.3% for the fourth quarter of 2013. The non-GAAP effective tax rate for the fourth quarter of 2014 was 18.7% compared to 19.7% for the fourth quarter of 2013.
Cash flow - The company generated $1.6 billion of operating cash flow and $1.3 billion of free cash flow during the fourth quarter of 2014.
Stock repurchase program - The company repurchased approximately $1.2 billion of its common stock in the fourth quarter.
Cash and cash equivalents and non-equity investments - The company's cash and cash equivalents and non-equity investments portfolio totaled $14.6 billion at December 31, 2014, up from $12.8 billion at December 31, 2013.
Business Outlook 2015
First quarter 2015 - The company expects net revenues in the range of $4,350 - $4,450 million with GAAP earnings per diluted share in the range of $0.37 - $0.43 and non-GAAP earnings per diluted share in the range of $0.68 - $0.71. GAAP earnings include an estimate of separation and restructuring costs of $210 - $240 million.
Full year 2015 - The company expects net revenues in the range of $18,600 - $19,100 million with GAAP earnings per diluted share in the range of $2.17 - $2.32 and non-GAAP earnings per diluted share in the range of $3.05 - $3.15. GAAP earnings include an estimate of separation and restructuring costs of $350 - $400 million.
In January 2015, the company's board of directors authorized an additional $2 billion stock repurchase program. Together with the $1 billion remaining under the company’s prior stock repurchase program authorized in January 2014, the company's total repurchase authorization as of January 21, 2015 is $3 billion. In addition to offsetting dilution from its equity compensation programs, the company expects, subject to market conditions and other factors, to make opportunistic repurchases of its common stock to reduce outstanding share count. Any share repurchases under the company’s stock repurchase programs may be made through open market transactions, block trades, privately negotiated transactions (including accelerated share repurchase transactions) or other means.
Quarterly Conference Call and Webcast
eBay Inc. will host a conference call to discuss fourth quarter and full year 2014 results at 2:00 p.m. Pacific Time today. A live webcast of the conference call, together with a slide presentation that includes supplemental financial information and reconciliations of certain non-GAAP measures to their nearest comparable GAAP measures, can be accessed through the company's Investor Relations website at http://investor.ebayinc.com. In addition, an archive of the webcast will be accessible for 90 days through the same link.
eBay Inc. uses its Investor Relations website at http://investor.ebayinc.com as a means of disclosing material non-public information and for complying with its disclosure obligations under Regulation FD. Accordingly, investors should monitor, in addition to following press releases, SEC filings, public conference calls and webcasts.