EBay is heading toward a settlement with activists that could give Elliott board seats

Key Points
  • EBay heading toward settlement with activists Starboard and Elliott that could be announced as soon as Friday.
  • Starboard and Elliott announced stakes in EBay last month.
  • A full strategic review of the company and new board members are being discussed as part of the settlement.
eBay nears settlement with Elliott and Starboard hedge funds

EBay is closing in on a settlement with activist hedge funds Starboard and Elliott Management that could be announced as soon as Friday, according to people familiar with the matter.

EBay may announce separate settlements with Starboard and Elliott, who aren't working together but who have both pushed management to explore breaking up the company, said the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private.

As part of the settlement, eBay plans on doing a full strategic and operational review of the company and would name several new board members, said the people. EBay plans to consider either spinning off or selling both its classifieds business and StubHub, two of the people said. EBay could also sell its marketplace business, which could fetch well north of $15 billion, one of the people said. Elliott had projected the Classifieds Group could sell for between $8 billion and $12 billion and estimates StubHub could fetch between $3.5 billion and $4.5 billion, CNBC reported last month.

Elliott believes Google, Walmart or several private equity firms may be interested in buying the marketplace business, CNBC also reported last month.

Talks between EBay and the activist funds are still ongoing and could fall apart, the person said. Both Elliott and Starboard have until March 1 to nominate a slate of board members through a potential proxy fight.

EBay told CNBC no deal is in place and it has nothing to announce. A spokesman for Elliott declined to comment. A spokesperson at Starboard couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal previously reported the settlement talks.