A culture and values fit

Adevinta acquires eBay Classifieds for $9.2 billion, will fall under Schibsted


Photo: Heiko Junge / NTB scanpix
Following Adevinta’s $9.2 billion purchase of eBay Classifieds Group, the two companies are one, placing them in the top market position in the 20 countries the companies now have operations, representing 1 billion people.

The Norwegian American

Take away the price tag, the number of shares, and board makeup, and Oslo-based Adevinta’s $9.2 billion acquisition of 100% of eBay Classifieds Group, it was agreed, is a culture and values fit. 

“I’m very impressed with the policy of the eBay Classified Group management team and what they have been able to accomplish in their business,” said Rolv Erik Ryssdal, CEO of Adevinta, at an audio conference announcing the deal on July 21. The transaction becomes official in the first quarter of 2021.


Photo courtesy of Adevinta
Rolv Eirk Ryssdal is the CEO of Adevinta. With the acquisition of eBay Classifieds Group for $9.2 billion, Adevinta and eBay Classifieds are in the top market position in 20 countries.

“Both our companies share similar visions, management philosophies, and values, which will facilitate the integration of our businesses and enable us to execute swiftly on our future strategy. Our combined leadership team is uniquely positioned to deliver the next phase of our growth, with a proven track record of building leading positions in market to scale and successfully executing entry into several others. Our mission is to create perfect matches and we’re starting that with the perfect combination,” said Ryssdal.

Adevinta provides the largest digital marketplace globally, with operations in 15 countries in Europe, Latin America, and North Africa, with 1.5 million visits a month to their websites. However, they facilitate sales of local products, enhancing local businesses. They are driven by the goal of improving the world, acting responsibly, and treating employees fairly. 

“We help our local digital marketplaces thrive through global connections and networks of knowledge,” according to a statement on their website. “Our marketplaces unlock the full value in every person, place and thing—helping local communities prosper and leaving a positive footprint on the world… We… acknowledge what’s special about every culture and place. We want to make a positive change in the world by helping everyone and everything find new purpose.”

Schibsted is a digital media and consumer brands company, with holdings that include the major Norwegian newspapers Aftenposten, Verdens Gang, and Bergens Tidende. Schibsted owns 59% of Adevinta shares and will receive eBay Classifieds Group’s Denmark assets for $330 million.

As the majority owner of Adevinta, Schibsted shares a commitment to the Second Hand Effect. Through buying and selling used products, there is a dramatic effect on the environment. Users—buyers and sellers—of pre-owned products at the different marketplaces of the two companies contributed to saving an estimated 25.3 million tons of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) of greenhouse gas emissions in 2019. That is equal to “50% of Norway’s emissions in a year or production of 444 million iPhone 11s,” it says on the Schibsted website. In addition, there were savings of  “9.5 million tons of steel/2.5 million containers; 0.9 tons of aluminum/60 billion cans; 1.5 million tons of plastics/204 billion plastic bags.”

Photo courtesy of Schibsted
Kristin Skogen Lund is the CEO of Schibsted, a digital media and consumer brands company, whose holdings include the newspapers Aftenposten, Verdens Gang, and Bergens Tidende.

“Through this process with eBay, it’s been very clear that we have shared values,” said Kristin Skogen Lund, CEO of Schibsted, in a separate audio conference. “We are building good relationships and strong trust between us…. We believe that we will be good partners and are in a good position to be able to work well together.”

In 2019, eBay was selected as one of the world’s most ethical companies by Etisphere, and received a 100% rating for equality and inclusion in the Corporate Equality Index. It belongs to the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index, was included in Fortune’s Changing the World companies, and ranked eighth on Indeed’s Best Places to Work. Its extensive global marketplace/websites allow entrepreneurs to sell worldwide. 

“We are pleased that we reached an agreement with Adevinta that brings together two great companies,” said Jamie Iannone, CEO of eBay Inc., in an Adevinta press release, “eBay believes strongly in the power of community and connections between people, which has been essential to our Classifieds businesses globally. This sale creates short-term and long-term value for shareholders and customers, while allowing us to participate in the future potential of the Classifieds business.”

Photo courtesy of eBay
Jamie Iannone is the CEO of eBay, Inc., considered to be one of the world’s most ethical companies and has a 100% rating for equality and inclusion in the Corporate Equality IndexInc.

Schibsted’s Denmark acquisition includes dba, a leading generalist company, and Bilbasen, a leader in the motor industry. By acquiring 540 million Adevinta shares, eBay becomes the largest shareholder in Adevinta.

The deal expands the companies’ reach to 20 countries representing 1 billion people, resulting in the largest online classified group in the world. Schibsted is the dominant Scandinavian player, with the top market position among generalists in all four countries. The company is top in motor category in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and second in Finland; leader in jobs in Norway, Sweden and Finland (not applicable for Denmark); first in real estate in Norway, second in Sweden and Finland (not applicable for Denmark), while improving revenue diversification.

“Schibsted is focusing on reinforcing the Nordic strongholds, and we believe that acquiring the Danish assets is a great addition,” said Lund. “Especially, also having just announced the Finnish acquisition… [of] “100% of Oikotie, a Finnish multi-vertical online (classified) marketplace.” By completing these acquisitions in Finland and Denmark, Schibsted has created a stronghold in all the Nordic markets, placing itself in a good position to further develop in the region.

Ryssdal is excited that Adevinta and eBay’s assets and strengths are complementary, which will improve the capabilities and expertise of both.

Combined, Adevinta brings strong positioning in real estate, eBay Classifieds in motors; Adevinta expertise in “launching new verticals,” eBay classifieds in mobile and advertising; Adevinta, “advanced data driven offerings for customers,” eBay Classifieds, a success story in Germany that could be a model for entering other country’s markets.

“We have a great collection of classifieds… across the different geographies in which we operate,” said Ryssdal. “When you look at the structural runway in our respective markets, there is significant upside for business, which will also be manifested in our financial profile as we continue to scale rapidly in our market, and benefits from shared learning and expertise across our portfolio.”

Both companies have been highly successful in pursuing mergers and acquisitions as a core pillar of their respective strategy. With this transaction, they perceive themselves in a prime position to continue to share the classifieds market globally for years to come.

In conclusion, Ryssdal said, “The transaction offers significant synergy potential, primarily derived from technology and IT efficiencies, as well as reduced duplication of certain products across the organization. Revenue synergies include opportunities to optimize pricing across the enlarged portfolio, exploration of rollout of transactional marketplaces, optimizing platform efficiencies, and additional product enhancements.”

This article originally appeared in the Sept. 4, 2020, issue of The Norwegian American.

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Michael Kleiner

Michael Kleiner, business and sports editor, has more than three decades of experience as an award-winning journalist and public relations professional. He has operated his own PR and web design business for small businesses, authors and community organizations in Philadelphia since 1999. Not of Norwegian descent, he lived in Norway for a year with his family at age 11 and has returned as an adult. He is the author of a memoir, Beyond the Cold: An American’s Warm Portrait of Norway, and a member of NorCham Philadelphia. Visit Kleinerprweb.com; beyondthecold.com.