EBay makes bid for PayPal

EBay Inc. said Monday that it has agreed to buy online payment provider PayPal Inc. in a stock swap valued at US$1.5 billion.

The auction powerhouse hopes that the deal will make buying and selling merchandise online even more convenient for its 46 million worldwide users by providing them with an integrated payment system.

The acquisition, which is expected to close by the end of this year, is subject to approval by stockholders and regulatory agencies. EBay has agreed to acquire all outstanding shares of PayPal in a tax-free, stock-for-stock transaction, the company said. The $1.5 billion estimated purchase price is based on the value of PayPal’s stock on July 5, 2002. The actual purchase price may vary depending on when the transaction closes and fluctuating share values.

Nearly 60 per cent of PayPal’s business already takes place on eBay, while the remaining 40 per cent is handled by small merchants eBay hopes to woo to its site, the companies said. PayPal is also looking to widen its scope by accessing eBay’s broad user base, the companies added.

Under the terms of the proposed deal, PayPal would continue to operate as an independent brand, but would phase out its gaming business due to the uncertain regulatory environment surrounding gaming, the companies said.

For its part, eBay plans to discontinue its current payment service, eBay Payments by Billpoint, at the close of the transaction, the company said.

EBay, based in San Jose, Calif., said that it expects to incur incremental charges for stock-based compensation and amortization of intangible assets of $4 million and $9 million per quarter if the deal goes through.

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