eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) delivered solid financial performance during the second quarter of 2014 on the back of impressive growth from its PayPal division. Let's go over eBay's latest earnings conference call to highlight a few important takeaways for investors.
A PayPal spin-off is still in the cards
eBay's management team engaged in a proxy fight with activist investor Carl Icahn during the first quarter of the year. While Icahn was pushing for a separation of PayPal and eBay's marketplaces e-commerce operations, CEO John Donahoe believed the two businesses were stronger together. Icahn withdrew his proposal in April; however, according to an article by The Information, eBay is still considering the possibility of a spinoff.
Going back to the latest conference call, CEO John Donahue said management would keep an open mind regarding such a possibility, and this provides credibility to the recent news reports.
The proxy fight in Q1 gave us the chance to engage with our largest shareholders and hear what's most important to them. They told us three things. First, they see significant value creation in our plans and want us to execute. Second, they want us to aggressively pursue our announced $5 billion share buyback. And third, they believe that synergies make eBay and PayPal better together for now, but they want us to continue to be open-minded to alternatives. We agree with all three points.
Marketplaces is on recovery mode
The data breach that affected eBay's marketplaces operations is still an important factor to watch, as the company has not completely recovered. Investors may want to keep an eye on the marketplaces division in the coming months in order to evaluate if the company is leaving its problems behind or not.
Our focus is now on recovery. Buyers representing approximately 80%, 85% of affected volume, have reset their passwords, but some of these buyers have not yet returned to their previous activity levels. So, we are stepping up targeted marketing efforts in the second half to full reengage these and other users who have not yet reset their password. I am proud of the way the eBay team, which is dealing with these challenges, is working to get the business back on track. -- President and CEO John Donahue
Management expects growing profitability from PayPal to compensate for weakness in marketplaces
eBay reduced the high end of its sales guidance for 2014 because of the problems it experienced in marketplaces. However, management expects increased profitability from PayPal to fully compensate for the negative impact on earnings, so eBay decided to maintain its adjusted earnings per share forecast for the year.
We have had a challenging start to the year. As we entered the second half, our PayPal business has good momentum, our eBay Enterprise business has stabilized, but our marketplaces business has to dig out of a hole. While we are confident we will work through the global password reset and the SEO changes it will take longer and cost more.
As a result we are lowering our high end full year revenue guidance by $200 million from $18.5 billion to $18.3 billion. We are now at $18 billion to $18.3 billion, representing growth of 12% to 14%. We are maintaining our full year non-GAAP EPS guidance of $2.95 to $3 per share, representing growth of 9% to 11%. We expect that PayPal's strong operating leverage and a lower share count will offset the impact of the slower revenue growth. -- Chief Financial Officer Bob Swan.
eBay is doing great in mobile
Mobile is a crucial success factor in the industry, and eBay is performing quite strongly in that area. The company attracted 6.6 million new customers via mobile during the second quarter of 2014, a big increase when compared versus the approximately 3 million new customers gained through mobile in the same quarter last year.
In mobile, our total mobile volume grew 68% in Q2, and we have hit 260 million downloads of our apps. Mobile continues to dramatically influence consumer behavior. For instance, 59% of eBay buyers shopped across multiple screens in Q2 and PayPal mobile continues to accelerate its momentum, with PayPal's mobile volume off of eBay now surpassing its mobile volume on eBay. We intend to continue to be a leader in the mobile commerce and mobile payment space. -- Donahue
PayPal is the preferred choice in cross-border trade
When it comes to cross-border trade, PayPal is the payment method of choice for most customers. This is a considerable advantage for eBay, and it shows the synergies between marketplaces and PayPal.
The bigger and more trusted PayPal becomes, the more customers it attracts to marketplaces. It works the other way around, too; many customers and merchants choose to open a PayPal account as a method to make and receive payments for the transactions they do via marketplaces.
On the global front, cross-border trade continues to be a competitive strength. PayPal is accelerating this volume. In fact 79% of international shoppers identified PayPal as their preferred payment method when making cross-border purchases. -- Donahue
Earnings conference calls can provide a lot of valuable information to investors. When it comes to eBay, the marketplaces division is still on recovery mode, while PayPal is firing on all cylinders and positioned for sustained growth. Mobile and cross-border trade are two major growth venues for eBay, and management has not ruled out the possibility of a PayPal spinoff to maximize shareholder value. All in all, things are looking well for investors in eBay.