Just days after the informal negotiations were revealed, Intercontinental Exchange (ICE -1.77%), the parent of the NYSE, has said it is no longer interested in pursuing an acquisition of eBay (EBAY -0.16%).
Having defended its pursuit of the online marketplace to investors during its earnings conference call who were apparently less than thrilled, the stock exchange operator said it was no longer interested in a deal.
"Based on investor conversations following today's ICE earnings call, ICE has decided to cease exploring strategic opportunities with eBay," it said in a statement. But that's OK, because eBay apparently wasn't interested in selling itself anyway.
Just an exchange of ideas
eBay has been under pressure from activist investor Starboard Value to sell parts of its business. Just days ago it published a letter calling on management to divest its classified ads business so that it could "return to its roots in targeting its historical core buyer universe of 'self-expressionists and treasure hunters.'"
eBay has been in turmoil for some time and is without a chief executive officer, which would make it a prime target for a takeover effort. But that doesn't mean it wanted it.
According to ICE CEO Jeff Sprecher, "Curiosity, and the fact that we know people there, led us to open a dialogue. And that's kind of the end of the story," since the pitch apparently fell on deaf ears.
eBay's stock is down by 4% in morning trading while shares of ICE are up by a like amount, a reversal of when the news broke and the tech stock's investors were heartened by the news and ICE investors aghast.