Carl C. Icahn's battle against eBay has drawn a number of boldface names into the fray. The latest entrant happens to be one of the most prominent executives in Silicon Valley at the moment: the LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman.
In an online post on — where else? — LinkedIn, Mr. Hoffman criticized his fellow billionaire for waging a battle based on short-term thinking. Spinning out PayPal from eBay or selling it outright might generate a quicker return for shareholders, he argued, but it might inhibit the payments processor from reaching its full potential.
The LinkedIn co-founder draws a distinction between Wall Street and Silicon Valley, arguing that the tech sector is focused on long-term growth, sometimes at the expense of shorter-term returns for shareholders.
Mr. Hoffman also defended the original takeover of PayPal by eBay, a deal he helped engineer as a senior vice president at the payments company. Under the aegis of eBay, PayPal has become an integral part of its corporate parent, benefiting from higher profit margins in transactions tied to the online marketplace and gaining capital to invest in nascent operations like mobile and real-world payments.