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David Fickling

For ICE, EBay Would Be a Regrettable Online Purchase

Both businesses are marketplaces, in the broadest sense. But that’s not a good enough reason for this takeover.

It’s never as good as it looks in the picture.

It’s never as good as it looks in the picture.

Photographer: Future Publishing/Getty Images

You know how things go with eBay Inc. You go online, ask some seller a question about that highly collectible Beanie Baby, they ignore you, and then suddenly people think you’ve lost your head over a frivolous purchase. 

Intercontinental Exchange Inc. must be feeling this way after the Wall Street Journal reported that the owner of the New York Stock Exchange had approached the online sales site about a takeover. Such a bid  would likely be well in excess of eBay’s current $30 billion valuation. ICE “approached eBay to explore a range of potential opportunities,” according to a company statement, but eBay “has not engaged in a meaningful way.” ICE would primarily be interested in eBay’s business-to-consumer marketplace, according to the Journal.