There has been another small dust up of interest in eBay as the shares look cheap and some of their business opportunities, like PayPal, are mouth-watering.
Company management is making an effort to sell the story and Street analysts are taking their numbers up on the stocks.Â Listings are more steady and the stock has languished.Â
Giving it a fresh look this morning we could certainly see one thing.Â Â If senior management were working in the kitchen they could make any dish taste like broccoli.Â The recent presentations are available here but they come across as a dull corporate overview of three, basically separate businesses.Â
Putting a presentation together for investors is a golden opportunity.Â Even a mediocre company can often put something together which is compelling.Â But eBay, with all their market position, cash flow generation, and opportunity delivers one that makes you start checking your email instead of paying attention.Â Some may say that it’s "just a presentation" but we disagree. It is the essence of the understanding management has of their value proposition and their ability to mobilize interest, resource, investors, employees and customers.Â Â It’s also something that a large chunk of time is spent on.Â If one goes to an investor conference to present the company story the idea is generally to make it as engaging and compelling as possible.Â
Over the years we have probably flicked through a few thousand corporate presentations and these are pretty dull.Â But the opportunities for a company like eBay should be electrifying. Amazon certainly can demonstrate that many things are possible.Â Like eBay Amazon has their share of failed offerings but the overall projection of the company is innovation, excitement and turning it into money.Â We should come away with the same perception regarding eBay.
Given the market and the company it probably can only be one thing the management in general and Meg Whitman in particular.Â We were unimpressed with Ms. Whitman when we met her early on when she took over at eBay. Our thoughts at the time were along the lines of "what a lucky break for her."Â (The CEO record is still held by Eric Schmidt for moving from Novell to Google.)
As she nears the 10-year mark in the job some, notably Henry Blodget, are calling for her to step aside and turn over the reins. We have never owned eBay and are still not inclined given current management.Â But if a change at the top occurred that was encouraging we would take another fresh look.
— Kris Tuttle