Icahn takes another swing at eBay's board

Icahn takes another swing at eBay's board

Summary: The activist investor fired off his second scathing letter this week, slamming board members Marc Andreessen and Scott Cook for being "value-driven for themselves" and calling eBay's corporate governance "dysfunctional." Oh, and he still wants that PayPal spin-off to happen.


Call it the rebuttal to the rebuttal.


Carl Icahn on Wednesday fired off his second open letter to eBay shareholders (so far) this week, reiterating a call for the ouster of board members Marc Andreessen and Scott Cook and once again demanding the company spin off its PayPal unit.

Apparently he was unmoved by CEO John Donahoe's e-commerce tutorial outlining exactly why the spin-off isn't in the cards nor the company's immediate and dismissive response to Monday's missive.

During last month's earnings call, Donahoe addressed the PayPal issue saying "based on what we see today, we continue to believe that the company, our customers, and our shareholders are best served by keeping PayPal and eBay together. In short, we believe this is the best way to maximize shareholder value. Our board is unified in its view on this."

Beyond the proposed – and dismissed – call for the spin-off, Icahn has issues with both Andreessen and Cook who, in his view, have obvious conflicts of interest that are at odds with shareholders' best interests. Thus, he contends, they need to be replaced by his proposed slate of new directors.

"We believe corporate governance at eBay is dysfunctional," Icahn wrote. "Let's end this charade."

In its response to his first letter, eBay stood behind Andreessen and Cook, calling them "two of the most respected, accomplished and value-driven technology leaders in Silicon Valley" and uncorked a left hook of its own.

"We prefer to engage in more constructive and substantive discussions of why, in our view, PayPal and eBay are better together," the company said in its statement. "Instead, Mr. Icahn unfortunately has resorted to mudslinging attacks against two impeccably qualified directors."

Icahn, who currently holds 0.82 percent of the online auction site's outstanding shares, went on to ask shareholders to "vote in favor of our precatory proposal in order to send a clear message to the eBay board that eBay and PayPal must be separated – NOW."

eBay, so far, has not responded to his latest tirade.

Topics: E-Commerce, Mobility, Tech Industry


Larry Barrett is a freelance journalist and blogger who has covered the information technology and business sectors for more than 15 years.

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  • Icahn, accusing others of being "value-driven for themselves"?

    Oh, the irony....
    • Playlist

      had to put on Tool's "The Pot" after reading this
  • "Investor" is probably an exaggeration

    "Speculator" and "Corporate raider" are closer to the mark. If the latter is too perjorative, then use the former, but investors are usually in it for the long term and they don't normally try to gut the companies in which they invest. "Speculator" (implying a focus on short term gain) is probably the appropriate term.
    John L. Ries
  • Nothing worse than a loudmouth backseat driver

    This guy is an investor, but has he built a company of his own?

    Investing in successful companies is kind of like riding the coattails of the people who built that companies success.

    My advice to Icahan: " Be quiet and enjoy the ride....or get out now at your next opportunity."
  • This guy is a "leach"

    He only wants to line his own pockets. The more company's do the opposite of what he wants the more satisfied I am.
    His aim is to drive shares down with public negative statements then swoop in and buy stick then sell once shares rebound and realise that the doom and gloom he was predicting does not actually exist.
    The good thing is once he is gone he will not be remembered because he never invented anything.
    • How much earning from fighting is enough for this guy

      How much earning from fighting is enough for this guy?
  • I think we should all tweet Mr Icann

    I am an ebay member and successful with using their service. If they were to separate the Paypal and eBay I would cut my ties with them. And there are a lot of other users who would agree. I think we should all get together and tell Mr. Icann that he needs to sit down and clam up or if he doesn't like how things are going, sell your shares and go somewhere else. Really???? .82 percent of shares??? Really???