eBay may use Skype money for acquisitions: CEO

Answering questions on what the company intends to with the windfall from the sale of its 30% stake in VoIP giant, Skype, EBay chief executive said in an interview they may use some of the US$2.4 billion to make acquisitions.

The online auction giants CEO Jack Donahoe told The Wall Street Journal that the company may also use some of the proceeds from the sale of its stake in Skype to return money to investors through share buybacks.

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“We will continue to use that balance sheet to invest in organic growth, make acquisitions selectively and provide return to our shareholders with stock buybacks”, Donahoe told the newspaper.

He said the San Jose, California-based company has over $8 billion in cash and was on the lookout for takeover targets.

“There is nothing imminent but when we see something that will help our mission to connect buyers and sellers (we will do it),” added Donahoe.

This comes after US software titan Microsoft announced this month that it was buying internet voice and video leader Skype for US$8.5 billion.

Donahoe also told the Journal that eBay would increase its focus on mobile products that allow people to shop, locate goods and compare prices with their phones.

“Our purpose is to bring consumers the best experience to find what they want, how they want and when they want it, whether it’s on eBay or otherwise”, Donahoe said. “A lot of eBay innovation will be around mobile.”

Explaining further, he said, “soon I will be able to take a photo of your shoes and find out where I can buy them and how much they cost.”

Citing Eastern Europe and Russia as examples, the eBay CEO said he does not expect eBay to be present in every market.

“Many of those markets are not large enough for eBay to have a standalone presence,” he said, and growth would come through cross-border sales.

Donahoe predicted Europe and Asia would represent a large share of eBay revenue over time. The United States currently accounts for around 40 percent of eBay revenue, followed by 40 percent in Europe and 20 percent in Asia. — AFP

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