Billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn proposed today that eBay spin out 20 percent of PayPal in an IPO — his most detailed plan for the separation of the two companies since he began his unsolicited campaign in January.
Under Icahn’s plan, eBay and PayPal would join in a commercial agreement to keep working together, while selling off minority ownership of PayPal in the public markets. Such a move, in Icahn’s opinion, would let PayPal use its own stock to complete acquisitions and attract talent while providing investors with a clearer understanding of each company’s value.
In an interview with Re/code in January, eBay CEO John Donahoe said that commercial agreements required to maintain a relationship between the two companies in such a spinoff would likely negatively impact the profitability of PayPal.
“Whether it’s PayPal’s integration on eBay, whether it’s signing up new users, or using data, you’d have to find arms-length pricing on all of those, which would obviously have an impact,” he said.