It was a bit startling to read a tweet referencing a drinking establishment at eBay
headquarters in San Jose, California: "Feel like I've finally arrived. Having a drink at @eBay onsite pub Walker's West with the brilliant #ebay #community team," wrote an employee of one of eBay's contractors who included a hashtag for "yes those are drink tickets."
It's probably news to sellers (and shareholders?) that eBay has a pub-like lounge on campus - especially one built with what appears to be no-expenses-spared. The contractor describes the project
on its site as follows:
EBAY WALKER'S WEST LOUNGE, SAN JOSE
- Gensler Architects
- Tenant improvement to convert on campus historic house from office to lounge space
- Commissioned by CEO to replicate a known NYC restaurant
- Custom tin ceiling with intricate can lighting cutouts and LED lit perimeter crown molding
- New bar counter build out with custom mirrors and lighting
- High end finishes and detailed elements for historical accuracy throughout
eBay opened the Walker's West Lounge in 2017, two years after eBay CEO Devin Wenig, a New York City transplant, took the helm. This tweet
shows a picture of the outside of the "pub."
Wenig also opened a lavish new building
called "Main Street" in 2016. In a speech at the grand opening, he said, "Buildings are symbols of your culture and of your brand. They are who you are in some ways, and who you want to be."
It's unlikely Wenig will be opening other luxurious spaces on eBay campuses to indulge in nostalgia for his home city - activist investor Elliott Management criticized management in January for its wasteful spending. In its letter to the board in a section titled "Operational Improvements and Margin Expansion," it wrote:
"Today eBay suffers from an inefficient organizational structure, wasteful spend and a misallocation of resources. By increasing operational efficiency, eBay can free up capital to invest in capability- and revenue-enhancing activities."
eBay is charging sellers more and offering less (see its 2019 first-quarter financials
); they might be wondering what took investors so long to speak up on how the company's management and board of directors are using the revenue generated by sellers' fees. Stiff drink, anyone?
As Dan Davis posted on this thread on Twitter
, the page featuring details from the contractor who built the replica tavern on eBay's campus has been taken down since we published this post yesterday.
The following is a snippet from a file we created yesterday when the page was still up.