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July 10, 2015

US equity firm close to signing $1bn eBay enterprise buy

Could Thomas H. Lee Partners be the buyer eBay have been looking for?

By CBR Staff Writer

US-based private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners is reportedly in advanced negotiations to buy the enterprise business of eBay for a reported $1bn.

The e-commerce company has been looking for a buyer since January this year, when it planned to slash its workforce by 7%, impacting up to 2,400 jobs.

Citing people familiar with the matter, Reuters reported that Thomas H. Lee has so far beat other companies in the auction for eBay’s enterprise business, but there is still no certainty an agreement will be reached, adding that there are still disagreements over price.

Thomas H. Lee Partners’ purchase price of $1bn would be less than half the $2.4bn eBay paid in 2011 to acquire the unit, which was known as GSI Commerce at that time.

Toys "R" Us, a client of GSI Commerce since 2006, said it would take control of its e-commerce operations in the US by mid-2016, instead of depending on eBay Enterprise.

eBay plans to spin off its PayPal payments unit business in the next quarter. In 2002, eBay bought PayPal for nearly $1.5bn in shares, and integrated the payment service into its own offerings.

Last month, eBay sold its 28.4% stake in Craigslist back to the online classified advertising website, ending all legal battles.

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