EBay-Backed Adevinta Jumps After Getting Private Equity Approach

European classifieds company Adevinta ASA jumped the most in three years after saying it’s received a private equity takeover proposal that would rank as one of the year’s biggest buyouts.

(Bloomberg) — European classifieds company Adevinta ASA jumped the most in three years after saying it’s received a private equity takeover proposal that would rank as one of the year’s biggest buyouts. 

Shares of Adevinta gained 24% to 106.20 kroner as of 10:35 a.m. Friday in Oslo, giving the company a market value of about $12.1 billion and marking the biggest daily gain since July 2020. Adevinta’s euro bond due November 2027 was poised for its biggest rise on record, according to Bloomberg-compiled prices. 

Adevinta said late Thursday it had received a non-binding proposal from a consortium led by Permira and Blackstone Inc. for all shares of the company, confirming an earlier Bloomberg News report. The Norwegian firm said in its statement that talks were at an early stage and there was no certainty a final offer would be made.

The potential takeover of Adevinta is the latest sign that private equity firms are warming up to do bigger transactions as interest rates begin to stabilize and worries about a global recession recede. 

Nascent Revival

In July, private equity firm GTCR agreed to buy a majority stake in payments company Worldpay in a deal valuing the business at $18.5 billion. The buyout sector could see a return to record-breaking spree dealmaking soon, the chairman of Swiss investment firm Partners Group Holding AG said at a recent industry conference.

Adevinta’s portfolio includes the Leboncoin classifieds site in France, the Mobile.de car marketplace in Germany and the Fotocasa real estate portal in Spain. It also operates Willhaben, Austria’s biggest digital marketplace, as well as Subito in Italy, Kijiji in Canada and Gumtree in Ireland, its website shows. 

Oslo-based Adevinta’s largest shareholders, eBay Inc. and Norwegian media group Schibsted ASA, expressed their support for the private equity proposal and would retain part of their current stakes, according to Thursday’s statement. 

EBay stock rose as much as 3.5% in New York trading Thursday after Bloomberg first reported interest from the investor group. Schibsted’s class A shares gained as much as 16% on Friday in Oslo. 

Deal History

DNB Markets wrote in a research note Friday that a bid in the range of 110 to 120 kroner per share “should be considered fair.” Analysts at Jefferies Financial Group Inc. said their base case would be a successful outcome at an offer price of more than 115 kroner, the rough level eBay got its stake at, implying a premium of at least 34% from Adevinta’s Thursday closing price. 

“We don’t see an obvious list of counter-bidders for the asset given its size,” Jefferies analysts including Giles Thorne wrote in the report Friday. “For Schibsted, this would represent a good outcome and likely unlock a series of larger buybacks by management as they seek to re-rate.”

Adevinta bought eBay’s online classifieds business in a $9.2 billion cash and stock deal completed in 2021, after beating out rival bidders including a consortium backed by Blackstone and Permira. That deal left eBay with a significant stake in Adevinta, part of which it later sold to Permira.

EBay and Schibsted each held about 30% of Adevinta’s voting rights at the end of last year, while Permira owns about 12% of them, according to its latest annual report. 

–With assistance from Michelle F. Davis, Stephen Treloar, Ryan Gould, Loni Prinsloo, Ruth David, Jan-Henrik Förster and Kati Pohjanpalo.

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