While Carl Icahn continues to push for PayPal’s spin-off into a separate company, eBay CEO John Donahoe has resisted the idea, explaining in January that the company would step up its M&A and investment activity in 2014, “particularly in PayPal.”
In fact, eBay has been unafraid to make big bets through M&A on both sides of the house – the core eBay commerce business as well as for PayPal which has become a payments juggernaut. Recently, eBay acquired Accel-backed payments gateway Braintree for $800 million.
We analyzed CB Insights exit data to get a better understanding of the geographic, industry and funding characteristics of eBay’s M&A, as well as whether there are any VCs that eBay tends to favor when it comes to its acquisition activity. The data below.
eBay M&A History
Since the start of 2009, eBay has disclosed 31 company acquisitions. 2011 was eBay’s most active for acquisition activity when the firm acquired 12 companies including Zong and A16Z partner Chris Dixon’s previous startup Hunch. eBay’s first and only acquisition of 2014 was for 3D graphics startup PhiSix. Its largest acquisitions in the period were GSI Commerce, now eBay Enterprise, for $2.4B and Gmarket for $1.2B, now eBay Korea.
eBay M&A By Funding Amount
In total, eBay-acquired companies since 2009 raised $423M across 46 rounds. Of eBay’s private acquisitions with prior funding, 60% raised more than $5 million in funding prior to acquisition which is a significantly smaller percentage than active Series A Crunch acquirers Facebook and Yahoo in the Marissa Mayer era. 35% raised between $10M and $50M including mobile payments provider Zong and price predictions engine Decide.com.
eBay M&A By Geography
Geographically, 50% of eBay’s U.S. acquisitions since 2009 have been in California. Massachusetts, NY and Washington have also seen two or more eBay acquisitions over the period. Outside of the U.S., eBay has completed acquisitions in six countries since 2009 including Germany, Turkey, South Korea and Belgium.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, 42% of eBay’s acquisitions since 2009 have gone to the eCommerce space while another 16% have been for payments tech companies including Zong, Card.io, Billsafe and Fig Card. Other sub-industries which count multiple eBay acquisitions over the period include mobile app development and location-based services.
eBay M&A – The Investors
There are a handful of investors who have backed multiple startups acquired by eBay. Founder Collective has seen the most portfolio companies snatched up by eBay – it’s four acquired startups include Bureau of Trade, Svpply, Milo and Hunch. This may not be surprising given Chris Dixon’s roots with Founder Collective around the time Hunch was acquired by eBay. Below is a list of the venture capital investors that have backed two or more startups acquired by eBay over the last five years. Interestingly, all of these firms are smaller micro VCs.
- Founder Collective
- SV Angel
- K9 Ventures
- Harrison Metal
- SoftTech VC
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