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Activist investor Carl Icahn told CNBC on Wednesday that eBay has the worst corporate governance he's ever seen, and that's a symptom of how badly American companies are run.
In a "Squawk Box " interview, Icahn acknowledged he likes to get involved in companies and shake things up. He said that while critics say he's just in it for the money, he believes he's doing something good for America by unlocking more value for investors. He also said he thinks that even lawmakers in Washington are doing a better job running the country than corporate boards are doing running American companies.
"I really believe that [in] this country, one of the great problems we're going to have looking ahead ... is because corporate governance, with exceptions, is completely dysfunctional," Icahn said.
'Worse corporate governance'
Ticking off a list of corporate disputes he's been involved in, Icahn said he's "never seen worse corporate governance than eBay."
The billionaire investor has been trying to get the online marketplace for months to spin off its PayPal platform from its Internet retail business.
In an interview posted Tuesday in The Wall Street Journal, eBay CEO John Donahoe said a breakup of the company is a bad idea. He also defended eBay board member and venture capitalist Marc Andreessen—whom Icahn accused of conflicts of interest.
Icahn said Wednesday he blames Donahoe more than Andreessen for the weak corporate governance.
He said, he said
In a recent letter to shareholders, Icahn said Andreessen had invested in and actively advised five direct competitors of eBay.
He also took issue with the sale of Skype in a September 2009 deal valuing the business at $2.75 billion to an investor group that included Andreessen. Eighteen months later, the group sold it to Microsoft for $8.5 billion.
Icahn said Wednesday the idea that there were no other bidders for Skype is a myth.
"Don't tell me that Microsoft suddenly had an epiphany ... and decided only a year and a half later, 'Wow, we're only going to pay $6 billion more.'"
Last week, Andreessen defended himself directly in an interview with the Journal—saying that venture capitalists who sit on the boards of private and public technology companies follow the same ethics practices as other industries.
Andreessen also said he disqualifies himself from boardroom discussions that could involve companies his firm backs.
(Read more: Andreessen strikes back at Icahn in eBay spat)
Icahn on Apple
Icahn—who had been pushing Apple to buy back more stock—told CNBC he thinks CEO Tim Cook is doing a good job and Apple is undervalued.
In a letter to Apple shareholders last month, Icahn wrote he was ditching his efforts to force Apple to add another $50 billion to its stock buyback plan, "especially when the company is already so close to fulfilling our requested repurchase target."
Icahn said he had to call in for Wednesday's interview instead of coming into the studio because he was at a meeting working on a new deal. He refused to go any further—saying he can't talk about it yet.