e-Bay wants a seat on Craigslist board

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TEXT OF STORY

Stacey Vanek-Smith: Imagine Pepsi with a seat on Coke's board of directors. Well, that's essentially what e-Bay is fighting for in a case that goes before a Delaware court today. e-Bay wants a seat on the board of Craigslist. Bob Moon has more.


Bob Moon: When e-Bay bought just over 25 percent of Craigslist back in 2004, it got a seat on the board and made no secret that it wanted to learn how to get into the online classified market. Soon after, it launched a rival classified site called Kijiji. And then came the lawsuits.

e-Bay claims Craigslist execs quietly sold new shares, diluting e-Bay's stake just enough to throw it off the board. Craigslist accuses e-Bay of stealing confidential information.

The whole case has securities lawyer Jacob Frenkel scratching his head:

Jacob Frenkel: It borders on the incredible for a competitor to have a seat on that board.

Craigslist leads the U.S. market, but e-Bay's classifieds rule in numerous foreign countries.

Peter Zollman writes the Classified Intelligence Report. He says e-Bay sees the growth it needs in classifieds:

Peter Zollman: Because it is such an important business, and such a lucrative business in many cases, that looks like it's going to be one of the keys for e-Bay for the next few years.

But attorney Jacob Frenkel wonders if there's something else at stake:

Frenkel: This case very much smacks of bruised egos battling it out.

We'll hear from execs on both sides starting today.

I'm Bob Moon for Marketplace.

About the author

Bob Moon is Marketplace’s senior business correspondent, based in Los Angeles.

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