In 2021 the Austrian Federal Competition Authority (AFCA) was notified of the mergers of Adevinta ASA/eBay Classifieds Group and eBay Inc./Adevinta ASA.
AFCA’s investigation into the acquisition of the minority shareholding found that it would be disadvantageous for Austrian users of online platforms and their private sales (e.g. willhaben.at and ebay.at) as it would minimise mutual competitive pressure (see AFCA’s press release of 18 June 2021).
In order to avoid disadvantages for users of online platforms and their C2C transactions, the merger could only be cleared after appropriate commitments had been made.
These commitments included the requirement for eBay to reduce its financial interest in Adevinta to 33% or less by no later than 25 December, 2022. By selling a block of shares in Adevinta ASA, eBay has fulfilled Point 1 of its commitments. According to a press release issued by the e-commerce company, it sold 1,019,568 class A shares in Adevinta ASA through its subsidiary eBay International Holding GmbH on 28 November, 2022.
Following this sale of shares, eBay Inc. now indirectly owns:
- 344,975,115 class A shares and
- 59,256,068 class B shares
through its stakes in eBay International Management B.V. and eBay International Holding GmbH.
All in all, eBay Inc. therefore indirectly holds 404,231,183 shares, which equates to around 32.999% of the outstanding share capital and 29.59% of the voting rights in the company.
The other commitments such as monitoring, which is aimed at limiting the economic influence of eBay on willhaben, and thus preventing anti-competitive conduct, remain valid. Monitoring of compliance with the commitments will be maintained until 2031.