eBay finishes strong in fourth quarter

eBay performed strongly during the holiday. Mobile exceeded expectations for the year, allowing the global commerce platform and payments leader to finish the fourth quarter on a high note.

The company reported that revenue for the quarter ended Dec. 31 increased 13% to $4.5 billion, compared to the same period of 2012.

Both Marketplaces and PayPal achieved record mobile results in 2013, each exceeding $20 billion in mobile volume. Mobile users represented 40% of eBay’s 36 million new users and accounts in 2013.

“We feel good about our performance and strong finish in the fourth quarter, with the holiday shopping season clearly showing how online, mobile and other omnichannel commerce capabilities are changing how consumers shop and pay,” said eBay CEO and president John Donahoe.

The company’s total mobile commerce volume grew 88%, with eBay reaching $22 billion and PayPal hitting $27 billion in 2013. And mobile added more than 14 million customers.

PayPal delivered a strong fourth-quarter performance with accelerating momentum in its merchant services business. Revenue increased 19% in the quarter. PayPal gained 5.2 million active registered accounts in the quarter and ended the year with 143 million, a 16% increase. PayPal's net total payment volume (TPV) grew 25% in the quarter with 3 billion transactions generating $180 billion in net TPV for the full year. On-eBay payment volume grew 14% in both the quarter and for the full year, producing $54 billion in net TPV for the year. Merchant Services net TPV increased 31% in the quarter and 29% for the full year, resulting in $125 billion in net TPV for the year. Mobile was a key catalyst, with payments volume off eBay growing 128% for the year. Total mobile payment volume for the year was $27 billion. The fourth quarter also saw the close of the Braintree acquisition.

Marketplaces gross merchandise volume (GMV) excluding vehicles grew 13% in the quarter, totaling $76.5 billion in 2013, driven primarily by strong growth in its domestic business. Revenue grew 12% in the quarter, totaling $8.3 billion in 2013. Marketplaces gained 4.6 million active users in the quarter and ended the year with 128 million active users. Its U.S. business grew 14% in the fourth quarter, generating $30.4 billion in GMV excluding vehicles for the year. Its international business grew 12% in the quarter, generating $46.1 billion in GMV excluding vehicles for the year. Mobile continued to gain traction during 2013 with 40% of all GMV in the quarter involving a mobile device touch point, resulting in $22 billion in mobile commerce volume for the full year.

eBay Enterprise generated $1.8 billion in merchandise sales in the fourth quarter and $4.2 billion for the full year, up 11% in the quarter and 14% for the full year. It produced $1.1 billion in revenue for the full year with growth pressured by merchant and channel mix and reduction in take rate. eBay Enterprise enabled its clients to grow same-store sales 13% in the quarter and 15% for the full year, outpacing e-commerce growth rates in the U.S. Enterprise clients are increasingly adopting technology from across the eBay portfolio: PayPal has 97% coverage with growing utilization of Bill Me Later; Marketplaces has 33 Enterprise accounts live on its platform and growing penetration of its eBay Now platform.

eBay also announced that activist investor Carl Icahn has nominated two of his employees to its board of directors and submitted a non-binding proposal for a spinoff of its PayPal business into a separate company. The notice stated that companies controlled by Icahn had, earlier this month, acquired shares and derivative securities that give him an economic interest of approximately 0.82% in the company.

eBay’s board said it believes the company and its shareholders are best served by the current strategic direction of the company and does not believe that breaking up the company is the best way to maximize shareholder value. As part of eBay, the company stated in a press release, PayPal is able to leverage the company’s technology capabilities, commerce platforms and relationships with retailers, brands and large merchants worldwide. Payment is part of commerce, and as part of