PayPal shares jump 5% as it lists on Nasdaq after eBay split

Company employs 2,400 people in Ireland and plans to add 500 more by 2018

PayPal has listed on the Nasdaq, bringing to an end its relationship with eBay, which has lasted for more than a decade.

Shares rose 5.4 per cent in their market debut yesterday, with investors expecting the company to grow after separating from eBay. The shares reached $40.47 at the close in New York.

PayPal is trading on the Nasdaq as PYPL, its original ticker symbol before being acquired by eBay in 2002. EBay gained 2.4 per cent to $28.57.

PayPal is expected to build partnerships with e-commerce rivals and try to seize market share from startups such as Stripe, Square and Apple, which unveiled its mobile payments service last year.

Chief executive Dan Schulman said helping traditional retailers develop smartphone apps that let consumers place orders and make payments in advance – as it has done with Subway and Burger King – will be important to maintaining the company’s growth.

Global transactions total $25 trillion a year, about 10 per cent of which are made online, making physical stores a key area, he said. “It’s a much bigger marketplace,” Mr Schulman said.

“PayPal is the gorilla among independent digital payment service providers with more than 160 million active accounts, global scale and brand recognition,” JP Morgan analysts said.

Money transfer

PayPal is also looking to compete with Western Union and other money transfer companies. Mr Schulman said he was looking to use PayPal’s size to offer affordable financial services widely.

“It’s clear that the potential for mobile technology to transform money extends beyond commerce. The vast majority of the world’s seven billion people lack access to even basic financial services,” he said.

At the ringing of the opening bell in New York yesterday, PayPal listed on the stock exchange as an independent company.

It announced its plans for the split last year, saying it would allow both companies to grow. The decision came after a long campaign by activist shareholder Carl Icahn to hive off the payments division, despite initial opposition from eBay's management.

Both eBay and PayPal have operations in Ireland, PayPal since 2003. PayPal Ireland’s Louise Phelan said the move allowed the company to move into a new chapter with greater confidence for the future.

The company employs 2,400 people in Ireland, and plans to increase that figure are still on track. According to Ms Phelan, the headcount is set to rise to 2,900 by 2018.

Staff at the Irish offices celebrated the listing, with the ringing of the bell broadcast in the staff canteens and balloons and cakes to mark the occasion.

“Everyone is fired up,” said Ms Phelan. “We’ve had a lot of time to get our head around it. People are now looking at the opportunities.”

PayPal has about 169 million active accounts globally, working in 203 markets and processing about 12.5 billion payments.

“The opportunity for us is huge,” Ms Phelan said. “We’re only getting started.”

As part of its post-split strategy, PayPal will be exploring new partnerships, with the current crop including deals with Uber and AirBnB.