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Is eBay’s Enterprise Unit Heading For A Sale To Thomas H. Lee?

According to reports in Reuters that broke late yesterday (July 9), private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners is the frontrunner in talks to purchase eBay’s enterprise unit.

The proposed price tag is reportedly around $1 billion.

Formerly known as GSI Commerce, eBay enterprise exists to help businesses shape up and expand their online and eCommerce capabilities. EBay revealed in January that it would be looking for an alternate future for this business unit — noting at the time it was not a smooth fit with either the firm’s marketplace business or soon-to-be independent payments business.

EBay bought GCI in 2011, but the unit has performed sluggishly since then, as many of the platform’s online clients have moved their Web services in-house. For example, earlier this week, client Toys “R” Us announced intentions to launch its own online platform instead of sticking with eBay enterprise/GCI as it has since 2006.

Toys “R” Us has said that bringing its eCommerce operations in-house will allow them to provide a better customer experience.

For Thomas H. Lee a deal would give the firm a foothold in eCommerce, as well as adding to its already impressive portfolio. That list includes MoneyGram International, Spanish language broadcaster Univision Communications and 1-800 Contacts.

 

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