Adevinta has this morning announced that its deal to acquire eBay's classifieds division has cleared the final regulatory hurdle and the closing phase can now begin and is expected to be completed within the next 7 days.
The Schibsted spinoff company's $9.2 billion deal for eBay's classifieds division was announced nearly 12 months ago but has yet to be completed due to several regulatory hold-ups in European countries where the two companies run hitherto competing marketplaces. Two weeks ago the deal got the belated green light from British competition authorities after both parties agreed to a series of measures including eBay's divestment from its marketplace site Gumtree UK and Adevinta's divestment from Shpock.
Austrian authorities have this week done likewise in waving through the deal on the condition that eBay reduces its financial interest in Adevinta to at least 33% within 18 months following the closing of the transaction and that Adevinta commits to restrict the flow of information from its generalist marketplace Willhaben to eBay.
Because eBay ultimately rejected the all-cash offer from Naspers spinoff Prosus in favour of the Adevinta deal that looked a lot more like a merger, it has kept an interest in its classifieds division which may have complicated matters slightly in this case. According to an Adevinta press release, Austrian authorities were concerned that competition among generalist marketplaces in the country would suffer as a result of the deal (with Willhaben and eBay.at being the two largest in the country) and were concerned that as an indirect shareholder of Willhaben, eBay could obtain information on the business and assert influence.
With regulatory affairs now cleared the most expensive online classifieds deal in history can now be closed and a new era of consolidation in many European marketplaces will begin. The market has reacted favourably to today's news with Adevinta's share price up 1.84% on the day at the time of writing.