EBay’s Donahoe Says Changes Could Take Three or Four Years

In the past week, eBay Inc. (EBAY) chief executive John Donahoe has taken steps to divest two businesses, acquire another, and revamp his company’s core e-commerce website.

During a call with investors Thursday morning, Donahoe said he thinks an initial public offering for eBay’s Internet-phone unit Skype will best “maximize value,” but he would be open to an unsolicited offer from another company to buy it outright. And he said that an agreement to purchase leading South Korean e-commerce company Gmarket Inc. will help the company grow not only in that market, but also serve as a platform to expand in Asian markets such as Japan, which eBay exited in 2002.

In a subsequent interview with The Wall Street Journal, Donahoe discussed the reasons for the hectic activity–-even during a week while he’s been on vacation–-and the forces behind a transformation plan he expects to take three to four years.

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