Carl Icahn Calls “Shenanigans” On eBay’s Board

Carl IcahnImage source: CNBC Video Screenshot

Carl Icahn has hinted in the latest post on his website, Shareholders’ Square Table, that he could threaten eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY) with legal action if the company continues to ignore his requests to see its books. And yes, he did indeed use the word “shenanigans” in his latest blog post regarding the eBay situation.

Today’s post comes on the heels of his proxy filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission in which he named his nominees for eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY)’s board of directors.

Icahn responds to Financial Times interview

In today’s post, Icahn said eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY) has so far offered to show them “only certain limited amounts of material responding” to their inquiries. He also said the company has insisted that the documents it shows are subject to a confidentiality agreement, but he thinks all shareholders should be privy to the documents.

He wonders why if eBay has nothing to hide, it would keep records related to the five-year old transaction involving the sale of Skype from the eyes of all shareholders. It is this transaction in which Icahn has been saying for some time that demonstrates how board member Marc Andreessen had a big conflict of interest.

Icahn: Donahoe doesn’t like having to answer to shareholders

The activist investor also references an interview eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY) CEO John Donahoe gave to Financial Times this week. He believes that Donahoe seems to be rather annoyed that the company has shareholders, as the CEO made a comment about the company being able to innovate “without shareholder distractions.” Donahoe also spoke about dual class stock and how it would prevent the types of problems they’re having right now. Icahn’s interpretation of what he says is, “Being a CEO of a public company would be a great job, where it not for those pesky shareholders.”

He also wrote, “These types of shenanigans may fily in countries where decisions affecting millions of people’s lives are made in secret politburo meetings. But I believe one of the things which makes our country the greatest on Earth is our democratic form of government, where deliberations are conducted in the light of day and our leaders are accountable to the people.”

In addition, Icahn pointed to the Freedom of Information Act, which “ensures that nothing stays buried for long.”

Carl Icahn files proxy naming board nominees

This morning Icahn’s firm filed a proxy statement naming Daniel A. Ninivaggi and Jonathan Christodoro as his nominees for eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY)’s board. The firm also stated a desire to vote for up to all of the eBay nominees other than Scott Cook and Fred Anderson. In addition, it reiterated the push for eBay to spin off PayPal into a separate business.

eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY)’s board said Icahn’s nominees are not qualified candidates, and Icahn wondered in his blog post what makes candidates qualified in their opinion. From Icahn’s proxy statement:

“Mr. Ninivaggi has a strong background in operations and management having served in various executive roles and having served on a number of public and private boards, including Motorola Mobility and CIT Group.  Mr. Christodoro has extensive experience in finance, substantial knowledge of capital markets and significant business experience as a director in various companies, including Herbalife Ltd. and Hologic, Inc.”

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About the Author

Michelle Jones
Michelle Jones was a television news producer for eight years. She produced the morning news programs for the NBC affiliates in Evansville, Indiana and Huntsville, Alabama and spent a short time at the CBS affiliate in Huntsville. She has experience as a writer and public relations expert for a wide variety of businesses. Michelle has been with ValueWalk since 2012 and is now our editor-in-chief. Email her at [email protected]

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