Amazon.com got a big payday when eBay bought Bill Me Later, the payment service, for $945 million earlier this month. So why isn't it admitting it? In an SEC filing, Amazon.com didn't name Bill Me Later as the source of a $150 million cash payment it will receive in return for an investment. But it's obviously Bill Me Later, which Amazon.com invested in last December. Here's the curiously vague wording of Amazon's disclosure to shareholders, and three possible reasons for it.
News reports confirm the rumors we heard over the weekend about eBay's layoffs. Details are scant, but our sources say some departments are losing as much as 22 percent of their staffing. Development managers have been told to expect to lose 1,700 "train seats" next year. That's programmer lingo for weeks of developers' time; one train seat is three weeks. Do the math: That means at least 100 programmers are losing their jobs in the cuts. Adding insult to injury: eBay is spending $1 billion in cash and stock to acquire three companies — payments firm Bill Me Later, and two Danish classifieds sites. What a stupid PR move, to combine the two announcements: Those getting laid off will wonder how eBay has money to spend on buying companies but not paying employees.
Amazon.com has taken a minority stake in Bill Me Later, according to reports. Why? Likely, it has something to do with the 217 percent year-over-year increase in traffic to BillMeLater.com, where users sign up for new accounts. As part of the deal, Amazon will join Wal-Mart and Overstock.com in adding Bill Me Later as an online payment option.