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Starboard ends eBay proxy fight after eBay hires new CEO

Jamie Iannone, CEO of SamsClub.com & EVP of Membership & Tech, Sam’s Club, Walmart, speaks on “The three things every leader should know” at Center Stage of Web Summit in Altice Arena on November 07, 2019 in Lisbon, Portugal.

Horacio Villalobos | Corbis | Getty Images

Starboard Value is backing away from its plan to install four new directors on eBay’s board following the hire of Jamie Iannone as the new CEO of the e-commerce company earlier this week.

The activist hedge fund pulled its nomination of director candidates for election at eBay’s annual shareholder meeting in June, according to a joint statement issued with eBay on Thursday. EBay said it expects to name a new director to its board in the next few months, and will consider the people Starboard nominated.

“This conclusion best positions our company and our new chief executive officer to move forward and achieve all that we and Starboard hope can be accomplished for our stockholders, employees and community of buyers and sellers,” eBay Chairman Tom Tierney said in the statement. 

Iannone will take over as eBay CEO on April 27. He joins the company from Walmart, where he served as chief operating officer for U.S. e-commerce. He had previously been a vice president at eBay for eight years. He succeeds Devin Wenig, who resigned as CEO of eBay in September after facing pressure from Starboard and fellow activist Elliott Management. 

“We are excited to build a relationship with Jamie, and we look forward to sharing our views with him on the opportunities we see to drive improvements in the marketplace business,” said Peter Feld, managing member of Starboard.

Starboard has held a position in eBay for more than a year. Along with Elliott Management, the two hedge funds urged the company to review its portfolio and trim assets. EBay announced that it was selling StubHub to Swiss ticket vendor Viagogo for $4.05 billion in cash in November. EBay is also pressing ahead with a sale of its Classifieds business, which could be worth more than $8 billion, according to people familiar with the matter. 

“We commend the Board on these actions, which are aligned with our recommendations and our shared goal of long-term stockholder value creation,” said Peter Feld, managing member of Starboard. “We are excited to build a relationship with Jamie, and we look forward to sharing our views with him on the opportunities we see to drive improvements in the Marketplace business.”

EBay is just one of several companies with which Starboard is pushing for changes. Last week, the hedge fund nominated six candidates at data management software provider Commvault Systems. It is also looking for board seats in GCP Applied Technologies, Mednax and Merit Medical.

All of these companies, including eBay, saw their shares dip at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, and are preparing for a negative impact to their business as a result of the outbreak.

Shares of EBay were up more than 1% Thursday morning.

WATCH: EBay shares move on report it could be nearing sale of classifieds unit

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