U.S. News

Icahn Wins ISS Backing for Motorola Board Seat


Billionaire investor-activist Carl Icahn, who is seeking a seat on Motorola's board, said Wednesday that proxy voting adviser Institutional Shareholder Services has recommended the cell phone maker's investors elect him.

The endorsement could give a key boost to his three-month-old campaign to become a Motorola director, a bid the Schaumburg-based company opposes.

Glass Lewis, another firm that advises investors, today came out in support of Motorola's current board of directors.

Icahn, who is seeking one of 13 seats on the company's board at the May 7 annual meeting, has blamed Motorola's management for the company's financial problems. Icahn and his affiliates have recently bought up more than 68 million shares of Motorola stock, a nearly 3 percent stake worth about $1.2 billion.

Motorola, meanwhile, has called Icahn "under-informed about our business and overcommitted elsewhere."

In a statement issued by Icahn, ISS was quoted as noting that Motorola has significantly underperformed its peers over recent quarters and is expected to struggle the remainder of the year.

"Icahn has a positive track record for creating shareholder value across a diverse universe of industries," the voting adviser was quoted as saying. It said Icahn's "skill set and track record establish both the need for change and the dissident's ability to effect change."

Motorola did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Earlier this month, Motorola posted its first quarterly loss since 2004 amid dismal sales in its largest segment, mobile devices, which CEO Ed Zander has called "unacceptable." Earlier this year, Motorola said it would cut 3,500 jobs, or about 5 percent of its work force, as tries it to reduce operating costs.