Icahn Accepts eBay’s Challenge To Focus On Accurate, Honest Debate

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Icahn Accepts eBay’s Challenge To Focus On Accurate, Honest Debate
Image source: CNBC Video Screenshot

Carl Icahn released another letter in response to the statement of eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY) that his claims against the company and some members of its board are arl Icahn released another letter in response to the statement of eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY) that his claims against the company and some members of its board are “dead wrong” and “blatantly false.”

The activist investor accepted the challenge of eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY) to focus on an accurate and honest debate, but he believes that the e-commerce company is not serious about it. He also said that it is interesting that its CEO John Donahoe, Directors Marc Andreessen and Scott Cook are hiding behind the company’s public relations machine. Icahn is waiting for eBay to accept CNBC’s offer of a public forum.

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Skype issue

Icahn argued that Andreessen’s group of private equity investors pre-empted the planned IPO of eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY) for Skype and bought a 70% stake in the business at a discount. According to him, the shareholders of the company would have been $4 billion richer if it sold Skype directly to Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT).

The e-commerce company sold Skype to Andreessen’s group of private equity investors for $1.9 billion, and was later sold to Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) for $8.5 billion. Yesterday, eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY) explained that it kept a 30% stake in Skype as an upside in any subsequent transaction.  The company said, “Andreessen recused himself from all deliberations” related to the Skype transaction.

With regard to the company’s claim that it explored all available options for Skype before selling it to the group of private equity, Icahn expressed his doubts and demanded eBay’s books and records regarding the process surrounding the transaction—pursuant to his legal right under Delaware law.

Icahn takes issue with some of Andreessen’s actions— he sits on boards and advises no less than five competitors, wherein four directly competes with eBay’s payment service unit, PayPal is an outlier on public markets. He said such action is contrary to the company’s claim that its board of directors has a “world-class” standard.

Cook’s alleged transgression

Icahn was surprised that eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY) did not address the issue regarding Cook’s alleged transgression. According to him, the company previously stated that PayPal and Intuit Inc. (NASDAQ:INTU) are not competitors. Scott is the founder, former CEO, and currently a board member of Intuit.

The activist investor noted that the payment service of PayPal and Intuit are identical. Icahn opined,  “Having Mr. Cook on the board while planning PayPal’s future is akin to having Pete Carroll, coach of the Seattle Seahawks, sitting in when the Denver Broncos were constructing their game plan for the Super Bowl (then again, maybe he did).”

Icahn also pointed out that the Department of Justice complaint against Cook regarding his demand for hiring embargo on eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY) is currently pending.

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