PayPal fuels higher eBay revenue even as cyber attack, rivals weigh

Wed Jul 16, 2014 7:13pm EDT
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By Edwin Chan

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - EBay Inc posted a 13 percent rise in quarterly revenue on Wednesday, as better-than-expected results from its fast-growing PayPal division helped the online retailer overcome increasing competition from Inc and a well-publicized cyber attack.

Investors had been braced for a tough quarter.

Ebay's stock has fallen more than 8 percent since April, hurt by the cyber attack disclosed in May that compromised data for some 145 million customers, the departure of highly regarded PayPal chief David Marcus, and intensifying competition from both online and offline rivals.

EBay was also hurt by a change in Google Inc's algorithm, which pushed eBay results lower in search rankings, slowing traffic.

That slowdown was seen in June in a measure of transactions across eBay's core Marketplaces platform, known as gross merchandise value, with the growth rate falling to 7 percent from around a double-digit pace in previous months.

"We had a challenging first half of the year with several distractions," Bob Swan, the chief financial officer, told analysts on a conference call, noting that the cyber attack and the Google search engine changes "had an immediate and dramatic impact."

Executives said eBay will spend more on measures to entice users back, including coupons, seller incentives and increased marketing.

Several investment brokerages had downgraded their forecasts ahead of Wednesday's results. The second-quarter results and eBay's revenue outlook were roughly in line with those tempered expectations. Revenue rose to $4.37 billion for the quarter, compared with $3.88 billion a year ago; Wall Street had forecast revenue of $4.38 billion, on average.   Continued...

An eBay sign is seen in an eBay office space in San Jose, California May 28, 2014. REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach