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eBay said to mull massive jobs cuts ahead of PayPal spinoff

Online auction giant could shed 10 percent of its workforce as it readies separation from its payments unit.

eBay could cut 10 percent of its workforce in layoff plan the auction giant is reportedly considering. CNET

eBay could eliminate thousands of jobs early next year as it prepares to spin off its PayPal mobile unit, according to a Wall Street Journal report Wednesday.

The cuts, expected to trim 3,000 positions, or 10 percent of eBay's total workforce, are said to primarily impact employees in the online auctioneer's core marketplace division, the Journal's sources said. The layoffs would appear to mark eBay's largest reduction in jobs since 2012, when it shed about 325 jobs as part of a major shakeup in PayPal's organization.

eBay declined to comment on the report, saying it doesn't address rumors.

"We are focused on running the business and setting eBay and PayPal up for success as independent companies," eBay spokeswoman Amanda Miller said in a statement.

The reported layoffs come as the auction house readies the split off its PayPal into a separately traded company. Announced in September, the spinoff mark the end of what has been seen as an awkward partnership since eBay acquired PayPal for $1.5 billion in 2002.

The deal was initially pitched as a way for eBay to boost PayPal transactions by driving auction participants toward the online payment service. But eBay itself apparently couldn't realize any significant merger benefits beyond pushing traffic.

PayPal has more than 152 million active registered accounts, with revenue over the last 12 months at $7.2 billion. That represents a growth rate of 19 percent over the previous year. In 2013, PayPal processed $27 billion in mobile payments out of a total of $203 billion in payments altogether.

PayPal handles one in every six dollars spent online today, eBay said. But the link between eBay and PayPal has dwindled in recent years, with the auction giant representing less than a third of PayPal's total payments volume, eBay said in September.

eBay shares, which closed down 13 cents to $55.27 on Wednesday, were unchanged in after-hours trading.