eBay is acquiring GSI Commerce, a provider of ecommerce and interactive marketing services, for $29.25 a share, or total consideration of approximately $2.4 billion. The acquisition, which will be financed with cash and debt, is expected to close in the third quarter of 2011.
The merger consideration represents a 51 percent premium over GSI’s March 25, 2011, closing price and a 47 percent premium over the average closing price of GSI Commerce common stock over the 30 trading days prior to March 28, 2011.
“We intend to lead the next generation of commerce innovation. The acquisition of GSI, which offers the most comprehensive integrated suite of online commerce and interactive marketing services available, will significantly strengthen our ability to connect buyers and sellers worldwide,” said John Donahoe, eBay Inc. President and CEO. “Combined with eBay Marketplaces and PayPal, we believe GSI will enhance our position as the leading strategic global commerce partner of choice for retailers and brands of all sizes. With more than 180 customers across 14 merchandise categories, GSI has long-term commerce services relationships with leading retailers and brands. We expect that GSI will benefit from eBay’s global platform and technology capabilities, and its clients will be able to leverage eBay Marketplaces and PayPal services.”
As part of the transaction, eBay will divest 100 percent of GSI’s licensed sports merchandise business and 70 percent of ShopRunner and Rue La La. eBay believes these businesses are not core to its long-term growth strategy. These assets will be sold to a newly formed holding company, which will be led by GSI founder and CEO Michael Rubin.
eBay expects the transaction to result in synergies of approximately $60 million by 2013; the company expects the transaction to be EPS neutral in 2011 and accretive in 2012. As part of the divestiture, eBay will loan the holding company $467 million and retain a 30 percent stake in Rue La La and ShopRunner. In addition, Michael Rubin will invest additional cash of $31 million in the holding company.
Under the terms of the merger agreement, GSI Commerce may solicit acquisition proposals from third parties for a 40-day “go-shop” period continuing through May 6, 2011. It is not anticipated that any developments will be disclosed with regard to this process unless GSI Commerce’s Board of Directors makes a decision with respect to a potential superior proposal. The merger agreement provides eBay with a customary right to match a superior proposal. There is no guarantee that this process will result in a superior proposal.
Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Peter J. Solomon Company are acting as financial advisers to eBay, while Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP is acting as its legal adviser with regard to the transaction. Morgan Stanley & Co. Incorporated is acting as financial adviser to GSI Commerce and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP is acting as legal adviser to the special committee of the GSI Commerce Board of Directors. Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP is acting as legal adviser to GSI Commerce.
Assuming its acquisition of GSI closes mid-third quarter, eBay said it expects the deal to be immaterial to its 2011 non-GAAP EPS guidance which it announced January 19, and have a negative impact of $0.30 – $0.34 to its 2011 GAAP EPS guidance, including a GAAP charge primarily related to the divested GSI businesses.
For more information on the transaction, including background information and factsheets, visit http://changingshopping.ebayinc.com.
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