UPDATED 18:34 EST / FEBRUARY 06 2020

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Intercontinental Exchange says it won’t buy eBay after all

New York Stock Exchange operator Intercontinental Exchange Inc. said today it’s giving up its short-lived pursuit of eCommerce company eBay Inc. after several of its investors voiced opposition to the move.

Rumors emerged Tuesday that ICE was considering a multibillion-dollar bid to acquire eBay, which has come under strong pressure from activist investors for its poor performance in recent months.

The report was somewhat confusing, though, since sources said ICE was specifically interested in eBay’s main marketplace business, rather than the classified listing business that eBay is actually trying to sell. Analysts said at the time ICE would likely have to pay a big premium to acquire the marketplace unit.

That may explain why ICE’s investors have decided against the idea. The stock exchange operator said in a statement late Thursday it’s no longer interested in buying eBay, following “conversations” in a call with its investors this week.

Investors’ initial reaction to the news of ICE’s interest in eBay was lukewarm at best, reflected by the fact that the company’s stock quickly lost 7.5% of its value. And it fell 3% more in after-hours trading today, despite the announcement that it’s no longer interested in eBay.

“Based on investor conversations following today’s ICE earnings call, ICE has decided to cease exploring strategic opportunities with eBay,” ICE said.

Photo: Jhil Verma/Flickr

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