EBay founder rebuffs Carl Icahn, defends CEO and board in new memo

EBay founder rebuffs Carl Icahn, defends CEO and board in new memo

Summary: Not every company will go quiet when being hounded by Carl Icahn.


The battle between eBay and one of its most outspoken shareholders, financier Carl Icahn, has been bumped up several notches.

Pierre Omidyar, founder and chairman of the board of eBay Inc., published a pointed letter on Thursday morning rebuffing Icahn's public outbursts and criticism.

Characterizing Icahn's recent letters as "false and misleading," Omidyar retorted that Icahn is making "unsubstantiated claims about our company -- and deliberately impugning the integrity of our directors."

Omidyar's letter follows one from Icahn to eBay shareholders on Monday, accusing CEO John Donahue of being incompetent while lashing out at two other prominent shareholders, venture capitalist Marc Andreessen and Intuit founder Scott Cook.

Icahn accused the two board members of undermining eBay's success for their personal gain.

As if that weren't enough, Icahn followed up with another letter to his own on Wednesday, ramping up his rhetoric by calling for the removal of the aforementioned parties from eBay's board while also labeling the leadership behind the digital marketplace as "dysfunctional."

Always one to avoid mincing words, Icahn wrote, "Let's end this charade."

Omidyar, also eBay's largest shareholder as noted by the man himself, outlined a rebuttal to Icahn's remarks, defending Donahoe, Cook, and Andreessen.

Icahn has been at the center of a number of hostile debates in the tech world lately, repeatedly going head-to-head against the corporate leaders of high-profile companies within his investment portfolio -- notably Dell and Apple.

The trouble with eBay started in January amid the company's fourth quarter earnings report. At the time, Icahn suggested (putting it mildly) that PayPal should be spun off.

Ebay didn't agree.

Image via eBay

Topics: E-Commerce, Apps, CXO, Tech Industry

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • If i ever start ...

    ...my own company, Icahn (and others like him) will be the biggest reasons to stay private...
  • Over doing it

    By constantly harping on successful companies and telling them how "wrong" they are, Icahn is quickly losing his respect.
    • What respect?

      from who?
  • Carl Icann needs to go!

    This guy needs to go! its funny he is raising all this commotion, and he has how much in shares? anyone? .82 percent! Thats right not even a full 1 percent of shares! ENOUGH you short sited greedy person! Sell your stock and get out! go retire let businesses who know how to run their own businesses run them. I am a user of both Paypal and Ebay and the seamless way they operate together is the reason that I use the service. If they were not together, I and I'm am sure many others would not use them. So not only are the share holders saying Nay to you Icann... but so are the users of the Ebay community. Stop your pointless ideas back off and go do something else! Instead of putting your money in eBay since you don't like they way they do things, sell the shares, then put that money in a charity! this way at least you will contribute something positive instead of lining your pockets at a companies expense.
    • sorry for spelling.

      sorry bad spelling!
      I think we should all post to his twitter and face book and tell him to stop.
    • The proper punishment might be...

      ...a successful motion of censure at a shareholders' meeting.
      John L. Ries