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eBay Inc.'s Pre-Separation Earnings Impress (For the Last Time)

By Steve Symington - Jul 16, 2015 at 6:35PM

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On the eve of eBay's separation with PayPal, shares of the online auctioneer are up with good reason.

eBay (EBAY 0.27%) just reported earnings for the last time in its current state, and it's hard to blame the market for bidding shares up more than 3% on Thursday. Earlier this week, eBay confirmed in a press release that the European Central Bank has officially approved its impending separation with PayPal (NASDAQ: PYPLV), clearing the way for its plan to split into two stand-alone publicly traded companies on Friday. PayPal stock will begin trading on the NASDAQ this coming Monday.

But they're still technically one company for now, so let's dive into the results.

For the second quarter, eBay's net revenue rose 7% year over year to $4.38 billion, reflecting accelerated growth from last quarter at both eBay and PayPal. That translated to 5% growth in adjusted net income from continuing operations to $931 million, and -- thanks to eBay's ongoing share repurchase efforts -- 9% growth in adjusted net income per diluted share to $0.76. Both figures exclude eBay Enterprise, the sale of which eBay's board approved during the quarter.

Analysts, on average, were anticipating higher revenue of $4.49 billion -- a figure that probably included the $0.3 billion in revenue from discontinued operations attributable to eBay Enterprise -- and lower adjusted earnings of $0.73 per share. eBay also recorded an impairment charge of eBay Enterprise goodwill of roughly $786 million in connection with the unit's sale.

On PayPal's performance, guidance
PayPal, for its part, continued to enjoy higher rates of growth than its auctioneer partner during the quarter. Net total payment volume rose 20% to $66 billion, helped by 27% growth in Merchant Services volume, but held back by a 1% decline in on-eBay volume. Payment volume through eBay Marketplaces came in at $14.5 billion, or 22% of PayPal's total.

PayPal also increased its number of active accounts 11% year over year to 169 million, and handled 1.1 billion transactions during the quarter. That equates to roughly 24 transactions per active account per year, up from 21 a year earlier. When all was said and done, PayPal's revenue increased to $2.3 billion, good for nearly 53% of eBay's current combined total.

In its first quarter as a stand-alone company, PayPal Holdings anticipates net revenue to increase 15% to 18% on a currency-neutral basis, with adjusted earnings per share of $1.23 to $1.27. That doesn't include PayPal's recently announced $890 million acquisition of Xoom Corporation (XOOM.DL), through which PayPal hopes to offer a broader range of services to its global customer base, while at the same time allowing it to accelerate its entry into the massive $600 billion global remittance market. 

"We continue to gain share globally in an incredibly dynamic market," added PayPal president Dan Schulman, "and I'm especially proud of our deepening engagement with our customers. As an independent company we will continue to lead the transformation of the payments industry by giving people better ways to move and manage their money."

On eBay's performance, guidance
Meanwhile, eBay Marketplace's active buyers increased 6% year over year, while gross merchandise volume fell 2% -- albeit primarily due to continued significant foreign exchange headwinds. On a currency-neutral basis, eBay Marketplaces GMV would have climbed 6%, good for a one-point sequential acceleration over last quarter. Quarterly revenue for the segment fell 3% to $2.1 billion, but would have risen 5% excluding currency effects. 

For its first quarter sans PayPal, eBay expects revenue to climb a more modest 3% to 5% on a currency-neutral basis, with adjusted earnings per diluted share of $1.72 to $1.77. 

It's evident that investors have thought of eBay and PayPal as a tale of two distinct, complementary businesses for some time now leading into this separation. While it's safe to expect them to continue to work closely with one another going forward, today's solid report was an ideal way to cap their successful run as a single company.

Steve Symington has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends eBay and Xoom. The Motley Fool owns shares of eBay and Xoom. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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