eBay CEO John Donahoe: I Wish We Could Buy Airbnb But We Can’t Afford It

At Fortune’s Brainstorm Conference in Aspen today, eBay CEO John Donahoe joined Airbnb’s co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky onstage to talk about how they mentor each other (you can watch the live stream here). The two CEOs have been informally advising each other for a few years, after being introduced through eBay board member and Airbnb investor Marc Andreessen. In fact, Donahoe asked Andreessen who the smartest founder was in Silicon Valley, and he immediately responded with Chesky’s name.

Fortune Deputy Managing Editor and moderator Stephanie Mehta asked Donahoe why eBay doesn’t just buy Airbnb. He explained that he would love to buy the company (which was most recently valued at $2.5 billion), but eBay can’t afford it.

In fact, Donahoe believes that Airbnb can be a great independent company and will be “the next eBay,” and “one of the more successful startups of this generation.” According to eBay’s last earnings release, the company has $11.7 billion in cash or cash equivalents as of late June.

The love wasn’t just dished by Donahoe. Chesky says that Donahoe is the archetype of the world-class CEO that can manage a successful company, and he relies on the eBay CEO as a core advisor to help make him a better leader and CEO.

As for other acquisitions, Donahoe said the marketplace giant and PayPal parent will continue to acquire new startups that are developing compelling technologies. Stay tuned.