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It’s been a long time coming, but the eBay / PayPal separation just cleared its final major hurdle today, after the European Central Bank (ECB) gave the split its official seal of approval.

“EBay and PayPal are two great businesses with extremely bright futures — as independent companies, their sharper focus and increased flexibility will improve their ability to pursue their respective market opportunities and strategic priorities,” said John Donahoe, president and CEO of eBay, in today’s statement.

Online payments platform PayPal was acquired by eBay way back in 2002, but there has been growing pressure from investors, including activist Carl Icahn, to spin the company out again as a standalone entity to increase agility and maximize the value as a publicly trading company.

Following the announcement last September that Icahn’s wishes would become a reality, regulatory forms were filed in February. PayPal then revealed it would be reverting to its old PYPL ticker when it starts trading again on the NASDAQ, similar to when it made its first initial public offering (IPO) back in 2002 — just before eBay acquired it.

While we knew that the full and final separation was planned to be finalized by July 17 at 11:59 p.m. (EST), there was some scope for objections to be filed, though few expected any real problems to arise. EBay was informed by the ECB only recently that the separation was the subject of a new review process that was introduced by the European Union (E.U.), so the company had to file another application.

Now that the ECB has given the thumbs-up, PayPal will begin trading again on Monday, July 20.


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