Paypal and eBay: A tale of two companies forced apart by Carl Icahn


I’m not sure this is what Carl Icahn had in mind when he clamored for spinning off PayPal from eBay.

When the two companies formally separated on July 20, the consensus was that PayPal had the brighter future, while eBay would be facing declining growth in its aging e-commerce business. For the next three months, it turned out, neither fared particularly well. Both PayPal and eBay fell 14 percent in that period, much worse than the Nasdaq’s 6-percent decline.

Now that both companies have reported their earnings, their numbers have diverged – although probably not in the way that many expected. eBay is trading 16 percent higher since it posted earnings on Oct. 21. PayPal reported its first ever earnings report as an independent company yesterday, and promptly slid 5 percent in after-hours trading.

The divergence may be a temporary phenomenon, since much of it had to do with expectations. The bar had been set low for eBay after third-party data showed its growth well below that of Amazon and e-commerce in general. Instead, eBay’s revenue and profit alike leaped over the bar set by analysts.

PayPal, meanwhile, reported GAAP revenue growth of 14 percent to $ 2.3 billion, a bit below what analysts were expecting. Factor out a strong dollar, and revenue grew by 19 percent. For the full year, PayPal is still forecasting revenue to grow between 15 percent and 18 percent on a dollar-neutral basis, below the growth rate of recent quarters.

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How Carol Bartz gave Autodesk’s Carl Bass his big break


bassAll this month, we’re asking tech founders, investors and CEOs to share with us their Big Break: the person who or moment which set them on the path to success.

Yesterday, while taping our latest Autodesk PandoCast, I asked Autodesk CEO Carl Bass who he’d credit with most influencing his career. Below is a transcript of our conversation.

[Note: The entire series is being sponsored by Braintree’s Ignition program, offering $ 50k in transactions free of fees, so you’ll only see their ads around “My Big Break” pieces. But the series was conceived, commissioned and edited entirely by Pando. Braintree had no input whatsoever in the editorial. For more on our policy towards single sponsor series like this one, see here.]

Carl: The person I’d give credit to is actually Carol Bartz.

I got to Autodesk by way of selling a small startup to Autodesk and I had no aspiration to work in a big company, stay in a big company, and certainly become an executive in a big company. None of that had any interest to me. But she was the one to push me along to be a Vice President within the company.

I think I told you this story but when she first time she wanted to make me a Vice President I hid from her for, like, a week because I didn’t want to be Vice President and I knew it was all downhill from there. And so, I hid for a week until she sent the thugs to kneecap me.

But she actually believed in me and thought I could do a job like this when I think I was not only not that interested but personally didn’t think I could.

Sarah: What do you think she saw in you that you didn’t or others didn’t?

Carl: I have such a low tolerance for convention and doing thing the “normal way”, and you know, the rules and order. I’m such a rule break that for many people that’s automatic disqualification. When you see someone who is throwing spitballs in the back of the classroom, you don’t really imagine them becoming the teacher. And I think somehow she saw that despite the charm of throwing spitballs.

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