eBay Taps Ex-Collectors VP As Trading Card GM - Is Goldin Auctions Acquisition Next?

Liz Morton
Liz Morton


UPDATE: The rumors have been confirmed - eBay has acquired Goldin from Collectors and will be selling off the eBay Vault to PSA as part of the deal.

eBay Acquires Goldin From Collectors, Sells eBay Vault To PSA
Big news in the collectibles world as eBay sells off their Vault to PSA and acquires Goldin Auctions from Collectors.

Rumors are swirling that eBay may be working to hammer out a deal to acquire Goldin Auctions just shy of 3 years after Collectors Holdings, owned by New York Mets owner Steve Cohen, hedge fund billionaire Dan Sundheim and venture capital investor Nat Turner, bought the company in July 2021.

eBay has not responded to requests for comment as of time of publishing and I have not been able to independently verify this rumor, but the possibility has certainly been on the minds of buyers, sellers, and social media personalities in the hobby for several weeks.

If the rumors turn out to be true, that will put an interesting spin on the timing of (now) ex-Collectors VP of Marketing Mike Nett finally revealing that he has in fact been serving as the General Manager for Trading Cards and Sports Memorabilia at eBay for the last 6 months.

Nett updated his LinkedIn profile in the last 24 hours to show he departed Collectors in September 2023, while also announcing his new role at eBay in a post on April 5, 2024.

Mike Nett on LinkedIn: #tradingcards #sportsmemorabilia #ebay #dreamjob #innovatingforthehobby | 21 comments
Excited to share that for the past six months, I've been serving as the General Manager for Trading Cards and Sports Memorabilia at eBay. It's been an absolute… | 21 comments on LinkedIn

Excited to share that for the past six months, I've been serving as the General Manager for Trading Cards and Sports Memorabilia at eBay.

It's been an absolute blast diving deeper into the industry and leveraging my experience from Amazon and Collectors. For me, this is a dream job - I get to talk cards all day! eBay is committed to innovating for the hobby, and I'm thrilled to be at the forefront of this journey.

The GM Trading Cards role was previously held by Bob Means, who left for Walmart in 2023, and before that, Nicole Colombo who initially jumped to competing card marketplace Alt before also finding her way to Walmart.

If eBay does acquire Goldin from Collectors, this hiring move could potentially raise questions and concerns amongst investors and the SEC as to any possible insider knowledge Nett may have brought to the table and what impact that may have had on any (at this point still theoretical) negotiations.

The situation could in some ways be reminiscent of when Scott Cutler (who joined eBay in 2015 as President of their StubHub subsidiary before being promoted to VP eBay Americas in 2017) left in February 2019 only to "suddenly" take on the CEO job at rival StockX a few months later, taking a chunk of eBay's sneaker business with him in the process.

While StockX played it off at the time that they had "poached" Cutler from eBay, the reality appeared to be that then eBay CEO Devin Wenig allowed Cutler to engage/consult with StockX while still a company officer.

In fact, both StockX founder Josh Luber and Cutler publicly gushed to media at the time about their long friendship since the site was launched in 2016 and that Cutler had been a "trusted advisor" since the beginning.

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“Scott and I met just two days after StockX went live,” says Luber. “His extraordinary background mirrors the unique business model we have built at StockX. He understood the power of a stock market of things and quickly became a friend and trusted advisor.

Over the three years that followed, as the business scaled rapidly, Greg (Schwartz, StockX co-founder and COO) and I had the idea that Scott might one day be the perfect CEO to take us to the next level. Then the stars aligned – the growth continued, we added three world-class investors to our team, and Scott became available. We weren’t looking for a new CEO, but this was a no-brainer.”...

...“I have known the company and the management team since the beginning and have been impressed by its unique market model in e-commerce and dramatic growth. StockX is revolutionizing e-commerce,” says Cutler.

As savvy scrutineer unsuckEBAY put it at the time, StockX's claims about the situation were more than a little misleading.

The timing of hiring Nett and a possible Goldin acquisition could get even more interesting as eBay's Mergers and Acquisitions due diligence, risk and disclosure practices are being looked at as part of a deferred prosecution agreement with the Department of Justice after being found criminally liable in connection to the 2019 cyberstalking of journalists Ina and David Steiner of EcommerceBytes.

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The deal hit eBay with a $3 Million fine and enhanced compliance monitoring requirements for 3 years, including a specific focus on M&A.

The scope of the compliance monitoring, coupled with a historic $59 Million settlement with the DEA and ongoing litigation brought by the EPA, suggests the Department of Justice and other Federal regulatory bodies may be concerned about a wide variety of business practices, opening eBay's entire operation up to additional scrutiny.

Those concerns may include apparent due diligence and disclosure failures in eBay's October 2022 acquisition of trading card marketplace TCGPlayer, which led to the formation of the first US labor union in eBay's history and the sudden departure of Chief Accounting Officer Brian Doerger last year, as well as broader questions about the significant strategy shift eBay has undergone with increasing in-house labor-centric authentication operations in the last few years.

The ongoing legal issues and increasing scrutiny of M&A due diligence practices were likely significant catalysts to Chief Legal Officer Marie Oh Huber announcing her departure and TCGUnion-CWA applying pressure to bring eBay to the table to settle Unfair Labor Practice claims.

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Would an acquisition of Goldin Auctions put eBay on the radar even more with the SEC and possibly the FTC as consumer concerns about monopolistic consolidation are already echoing throughout the hobby?

What do you think of the rumors? Would eBay acquiring Goldin be good for trading card and sports memorabilia buyers and sellers or would it reduce competition and harm consumers? Let us know in the comments below!


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Liz Morton is a seasoned ecommerce pro with 17 years of online marketplace sales experience, providing commentary, analysis & news about eBay, Etsy, Amazon, Shopify & more at Value Added Resource!

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