Should Square Buy eBay?
In this mailbag segment of the Market Foolery podcast, host Chris Hill and senior analyst Matt Argersinger discuss an M&A hypothetical that would have been tough to imagine just a couple of years ago, but which now seems at least worth considering: Should rising mobile payments star Square (NYSE: SQ) acquire e-commerce elder statesman eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY)?
A full transcript follows the video.
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This video was recorded on Sept. 19, 2018.
Chris Hill: Question from Mike in Columbus, Ohio. "Should Square buy eBay?" That's a pithy question. That was the entirety of the email. "Should Square buy eBay?"
Matt Argersinger: Yeah, Mike, that is a question we wouldn't have dreamed of asking just a couple of years ago. But if you look at where Square is today, relative to eBay, it's actually one of those hypothetical ones that actually could be reasonable. It's a reasonable question to ask. I don't think so, for a lot of reasons. Mainly because I think Square is trying to be as ubiquitous a platform as they can be. Buying eBay, even though they probably could do it -- and I know they already have a relationship with the eBay, in terms of lending that they've taken away from PayPal. eBay and Square have already partnered on loans to eBay sellers from Square.
But I just think Square wants to be the point of sale, point of transaction platform for many major markets. I think if they homed in on eBay, and spent a lot of their capital there, it probably limits their opportunities and their exposure beyond that. Then, you're going to get into competitive issues with other major e-tailers, not just in the U.S. but maybe around the world. I think they're going to hinge themselves to that. That eBay platform which we know isn't exactly the fastest-growing company. It doesn't have the same dynamics as it used to.
Hill: It's not the fastest-growing, but it's also established enough and well-known enough that I think you're right, it would probably limit their opportunities elsewhere, as opposed to if Square bought Etsy, which is young enough and small enough, and I don't think that as many established e-tailers look at that as a competitive threat. Maybe, in some cases, that's to their detriment. But, it seems like, if Square wanted to go down this road, eBay would not be first on the list.
Argersinger: No, you're right. I like the mention of Etsy. That's one of the smaller bets that I think could make more sense and wouldn't hinder their opportunities down the road.
Chris Hill owns shares of eBay and PayPal Holdings. Matthew Argersinger owns shares of Etsy and Square. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends PayPal Holdings and Square. The Motley Fool has the following options: short January 2019 $80 calls on Square. The Motley Fool recommends eBay and Etsy. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.