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Updated: February 5, 2020

NYSE owner says it is not buying eBay

Shares of eBay soared Tuesday after rumors swirled on Wall Street that the company synonymous with Wall Street, New York Stock Exchange owner Intercontinental Exchange, was thinking of buying the company. Alas, it's not to be.

ICE said late Tuesday that it "approached eBay to explore a range of potential opportunities that might create value for the shareholders of both companies." But the company added that "eBay has not engaged in a meaningful way."

"We are not in negotiations regarding the sale of all or part of eBay," ICE concluded.

Shares of ICE, which plunged 7.5% Tuesday on the merger rumors, rose 34.5% in early trading Wednesday. eBay fell 2% Wednesday following a nearly 9% spike a day earlier.

The apparent end of eBay takeover talk comes at a tough time for the company. The stock has lagged the performance of both the broader market and PayPal, which eBay spun off in 2015, for the past year.

Longtime eBay CEO Devin Wenig stepped down in September and activist investors are pushing the company to make changes. Elliott Management took a stake in eBay last year. Following that, eBay sold off its StubHub unit to a European competitor for $4 billion.

But another activist firm, Starboard Value, wants eBay to dump even more assets. Starboard said in a letter to eBay Tuesday it was disappointed eBay hasn't made progress on selling its Classifieds unit. EBay responded by saying that it has "implemented changes based on investor input" and that "we remain open to all value-enhancing opportunities."

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