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Carl Icahn criticizes eBay—again

Activist billionaire investor Carl Icahn dug in on his criticism of eBay's management on Monday, doubling down on his view that the company should spin off PayPal.

"This company is the quintessential example of what's wrong with governance in corporate America," he said on CNBC's "Halftime Report."

Icahn, who holds roughly 2 percent of eBay's outstanding shares, had been pushing for two seats on its board of directors and a split of PayPal from the company.

"We give the board discipline, and that's what these guys don't want," he said.

(Read more: EBay rejects Icahn board nominees, asks investors to do same)

Earlier Monday, eBay issued a defense of CEO John Donahoe, citing a 460 percent increase in the company's stock price since he took the helm in 2008.

Icahn argued that Donahoe's performance was below that of his peers.

(Read more: EBay is worst-run company I have ever seen: Carl Icahn)

"I'd like to study those returns because I don't really buy them. But he's done way, way worse than his peer group, and that's how you measure a CEO," Icahn said. "I mean, you know, if you discover gold in the mountain, you don't say, 'Well, you're a genius gold miner.' ... He has delivered what I think are very mediocre results—against Amazon, against Visa, against Master Card, against any of the peers. He's in a great business with PayPal that's helped him."

Icahn said there was more to his assessment of Donahoe than eBay's stock performance.

Carl Icahn
Carl Icahn

"What I will tell you is, categorically, he's done much, much, much worse that his peer group. That's all I'm saying. But that's not the issue. That still doesn't allow you to give away money in a collegial board. The way he followed up on the stuff that goes on is just reprehensible."

Icahn also has criticized eBay board members Marc Andreessen and Scott Cook.

"There's no question that the people in Silicon Valley are going to band together. You know, they're a band of brothers, and they're going to band together and say, 'Well, Icahn's a bad guy for coming in here,' as they said at Motorola at the beginning," he said. "If we hadn't been in Motorola and gotten it split up, that company would be bankrupt today and few will argue with it."

Icahn argued that eBay's stock price had seen a recent increase because of his push to spin off PayPal as a separate company.

"The reason they're up now is only 'cause we're there and there's a hope, just a glimmer of hope, that they're going to do some kind of a separation," he said. "Look, it's a very badly run company by a board that's extremely—the word is probably 'ineffectual' …"

Icahn also weighed in on a story in The New York Times examining Bill Ackman's $1 billion short bet on Herbalife.

"Look, I think just going, seeing, you know, what Ackman has been doing makes you really wonder why he's doing this. I mean, it's gone to a point that I think is almost bordering on the insane. I don't understand where he's going and what is happening here. He's just on some kind of a crusade," Icahn said. "What I do is say, 'We need corporate governance in this country.' I'm on that crusade, but that is a crusade that hopefully you could win. I don't know what he wins here. What does he hope to get? I don't understand where he's going."

Last year, Icahn and Pershing Square's Ackman duked it out on live CNBC, and Icahn later announced that he was taking a position on Herbalife.

(Read more: Ackman, Icahn hurl accusations, insults)

"He hopes it goes to zero. But his going out and ranting and raving about it, how is that going to affect it?" Icahn said. "I own a lot of the stock, and I never sold a share. But you know something? I believe that sooner or later, it can't go on this way with Ackman, you know, every week coming out with a new meeting. I think that also is very detrimental to the company. And I think this has got to come to a solution, in my opinion."

In response to a request for comment from Ackman, CNBC.com received a statement from Pershing Square that did not directly address Icahn's comments.

"Pershing Square believes that Herbalife is a pyramid scheme based on over two years of research," the company said in an e-mailed statement. "We continue to share our research and findings with regulators, policymakers, law enforcement and other interested parties to shine a light on the company's and its distributors' illegal practices."

Herbalife has steadfastly denied Ackman's allegations.

By CNBC's Bruno J. Navarro. Follow him on Twitter @Bruno_J_Navarro.

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