Corporate Finance

EBay strikes back: Stick to the facts, Carl

Carl Icahn pens another letter to eBay

EBay responded to activist investor Carl Icahn's recent letter to its shareholders accusing the company's board of putting their personal profits ahead of stockholders.

"Carl Icahn doesn't let the truth get in the way of a good story," the company said in a statement on Wednesday. "We challenge Mr. Icahn to end his own charade with our shareholders. Let's focus on honest, accurate debate."

Earlier, Icahn took specific aim at directors Scott Cook and Marc Andreessen's links to eBay competitors. Icahn blasted what he called "corporate governance failures." He vigorously questioned why Cook was still on the board, given his stake in Intuit, which competes directly with eBay's PayPal.

"Stockholders: Please ask yourself: If you ran your own company, would you ever allow your competitors to sit at the table as you planned and executed your business strategy," Icahn wrote. "We believe the obvious answer is No!"

In the statement, eBay said it engaged in a competitive process with multiple bidders when disinvesting in Skype.

"The best available transaction was a sale of a majority stake to a private equity consortium that included Silver Lake Partners, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Index Ventures and others. Andreessen Horowitz Ventures had an approximately 3% minority stake."

Icahn is embroiled in a bitter public battle with the online auction site. He insists that eBay should split its payment platform from its main business, and toward that end has amassed a 2.15 percent stake in the company.

"We believe corporate governance at eBay is dysfunctional. Let's end this charade," Icahn said.