April 29, 2014, 4:52 PM

eBay’s U.S. sales climb 11% in Q1

With an eye to more acquisitions, eBay also disclosed it had repatriated funds held abroad, adding $6 billion to its U.S. cash position. Ebay also reports attracting 6.5 million new mobile consumers in the first quarter.

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The value of merchandise sold on eBay Inc.’s U.S. marketplace, excluding vehicles, increased about 11% year over year in the first quarter, the online marketplace operator said today. EBay also said it attracted 6.5 million new mobile customers during the first quarter.

The company also announced that it had brought back to the U.S. $9 billion in cash from foreign accounts, leaving $6 billion to invest in the U.S. after putting aside $3 billion for tax obligations.

Chief financial officer Bob Swan told analysts that the cash gives eBay the flexibility to take advantage of any acquisition opportunities that arise. "We're seeing growing opportunities in the U.S.," Swan said, according to a transcript from SeekingAlpha. "We're an acquisitive company and we need to ensure we have the resources available to capitalize on targets that become available both domestically and abroad." He emphasized, however, that the company was not announcing any specific plans for acquisitions.

For the first quarter ended March 31, eBay reported:

  • The value of merchandise sold worldwide on eBay, excluding vehicles, was approximately $20.54 billion, up 12.2% from $18.30 billion a year earlier. About 60% of marketplace sales, or approximately $12.32 billion, came from outside the United States. That translates into about $8.21 billion for the United States, up 11% from the same period last year, eBay says.
  • Fixed-priced sales on eBay's U.S. marketplace, which represent 76% of sales, increased 19%, but auction sales decreased 9%.
  • Net revenue for eBay marketplaces this quarter reached more than $2.15 billion, up 10.3% from $1.95 billion last year.
  • EBay Marketplaces gained 4.7 million buyers in the first quarter, pushing the number of active buyers to 145 million.
  • Active users of eBay’s payment services, which include consumers with PayPal and Bill Me Later accounts, totaled 148.4 million, up 4% from the fourth quarter of 2013 and 16.2% from the first quarter of 2013. PayPal gained 5.8 million users in the first quarter.
  • PayPal revenue increased 19.4% year over year to $1.84 billion from $1.54 billion. PayPal’s payment volume grew 26.8% to $52.0 billion from $41.0 billion for the same period last year.
  • Net revenue from the former GSI Commerce Inc., now named eBay Enterprise, totaled $269 million for the first quarter, up about 8.4% from $248 million a year earlier.
  • EBay’s net revenue increased 13.9% to $4.26 billion in the first quarter compared with $3.74 billion in the same period last year. 
  • EBay says it took a net loss of $2.32 billion in the quarter because of the $3 billion tax charge for repatriating funds from abroad. That compared with net income of $677 million in the same period last year. Excluding that charge, eBay posted $899 million in net income for the first quarter of 2014. 

CEO John Donahoe told analysts that eBay plans to announce a new promotional campaign for PayPal that will include digital marketing and some TV advertising. The campaign, called "Powering The People Economy" will air this summer and fall in the U.S., the U.K., Germany and Australia. In tandem with the campaign, PayPal also revealed a new logo.

Asked about the rollout of PayPal to offline locations, Donahoe emphasized PayPal's use in restaurants rather than retail stores. "The first places where you're seeing mobile technology used in the physical world are around the sharing economy, where it's providing a real consumer benefit, and around restaurant and other areas that have lines." He said eBay in the past year has enabled consumers to use PayPal to pay for orders in advance and from tables in restaurants, which he described as "experiences that were significant improvements from simply swiping a card."

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