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7/25/2003
10:47 AM
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eBay Plans Stock Split As Sales And Revenue Soar

The online auctioneer says revenue and net income in its second quarter both jumped 91% from the year-ago quarter.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- EBay Inc. will split its soaring stock to help attract even more investors as the online auction giant reported yet another quarter of surging sales and profits.

The company also boosted an already bullish outlook on Thursday as its stock hit a new 52-week high.

San Jose-based eBay said second-quarter net income was $152 million, or 33 cents per share, on revenue of $509.3 million, based on strong international sales and a surge in users who frequently visit and buy on eBay.

Revenue and profit both jumped 91 percent from the same quarter in 2002.

Without some items, which included payments to expand its San Jose headquarters, EBay earned 37 cents per share. That beat Wall Street's expectation of 35 cents per share on revenue of $505.9 million.

The results also beat the stated expectations of eBay executives, noted in Silicon Valley for conservative financial forecasts. They told investors to expect 33 cents per share on revenue of $500 million.

EBay's stock has one of the highest valuations of any company in the United States--far greater than Microsoft Corp. and other technology titans--and it has remained impervious to the dot-com stock market bust.

The stock's ascent this year, 71 percent, prompted eBay's board to announce a two-for-one split effective Aug. 28, for stockholders of record on Aug. 4.

"That should make the stock accessible to more investors," president and chief executive Meg Whitman said during a conference call.

EBay also boosted its outlook for the rest of 2003, despite the traditional summer slowdown and an extra tax on online purchases in Europe.

Chief financial officer Rajiv Dutta said the company expected yearly revenue of $2.75 billion, up from previous estimates of $2.5 billion. Dutta said 2003 earnings per share could hit $1.47, up 6 cents from previous estimates.

In the first half of 2003, eBay earned $213.9 million on revenue of $985.76 million. That compares to $101.89 million on revenue of $511.39 million in the first two quarters of 2002.

Whitman and Dutta credited strong sales outside the United States for the quarterly boost. American buyers purchased $242.4 million in fixed-price and auction items, up 45 percent from the same quarter last year. EBay users abroad purchased $155.2 million in the quarter, a 146 percent increase from the same period of 2002.

EBay, which listed a record 225 million items for sale in the second quarter, had 75.3 million users--up 51 percent from the end of the 2002 quarter. Active users, those who purchased or listed at least one item in the past year, jumped 57 percent from the same period last year to 34.1 million.

The second quarter exemplified a continued shift at eBay, which is moving from primarily an auction site to an all-purpose site for buying and selling in any format, including fixed prices. Executives consider competitors not only the auction division of Yahoo Inc. but also e-commerce giant Amazon.com.

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