Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Will eBay Dump StubHub, Too?

ticketNow that eBay has sloughed off StumbleUpon and made plans to dump Skype, theoretically via an IPO, will it drop StubHub, too?

That’s the possibility floated, albeit in an offhand way, via Bernstein Research’s Jeffrey Lindsay in a note published this morning: “We would likely expect further divestments of non-core businesses, possibly including StubHub.”

I understand why the auction site dropped StumbleUpon, a Web 2.0 publishing business with a novel and unproven revenue model. And it makes sense to stop carrying Skype, a telecom business that requires a lot of time, money and maintenance.

But Stubhub, which eBay bought for $307 million a little more than two years ago, seemed like a bona fide fit: The ticket resale business mirrors eBay’s (EBAY) core auction in pretty obvious ways. I’ve asked Lindsay to tease out his thinking for us, and will update if he does.

UPDATE: Here’s Lindsay, via email: “It seems that eBay is going right back to basics, and is dispensing with the ‘we are an auction company’ ethos that got them into so much trouble. We see StubHub as coming out of that era. We think the market in tickets is changing rapidly and there is a chance to sell StubHub at the very top. They might well take it and pursue a much more pure play retail/second hand portfolio and go back to geographic expansion of the marketplaces/PayPal core.”

Meanwhile, if eBay does decide to jettison StubHub, now would be a very interesting time to do so. TicketsNow, its primary competitor, is likely to go on the block in the near future: Parent company Ticketmaster (TKTM), which acquired the business for $265 million a year ago, has said it would dump the business in order to mollify antitrust critics (and Bruce Springsteen fans) who want to stop the company’s proposed merger with Live Nation (LYV).

Anyone want to corner the market on the ticket-scalping industry?

[Image credit: Hyrck]

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work