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eBay Founder Defends Board from Attacks by Carl Icahn


ebaywhereThe founder of San Jose-based eBay on Thursday fired back at Carl Icahn, after the activist investor accused board members of failing to look out for shareholders’ best interests. In a statement published on eBay’s website, Chairman Pierre Omidyar claimed Icahn is “making unsubstantiated claims about our company” and “deliberately impugning the integrity of our directors.” Icahn has been critical of investors Scott Cook and Marc Andreessen, who teamed with Silver Lake Partners to acquire a majority stake in Skype for $1.9 billion in 2009. Two years later, Microsoft acquired Skype for $8.5 billion. “eBay was planning to IPO Skype,” wrote Icahn, who owns a 2% stake in eBay. “Mr. Andreessen and his investor group preempted the IPO, purchasing 70% of Skype for less than what eBay paid for it. Had eBay sold Skype to Microsoft at the price paid to Mr. Andreessen’s group, eBay shareholders would have been at least $4 billion richer upon the sale.” Icahn also has been pushing for eBay to sell its PayPal unit, an idea that Omidyar is rejecting, at least for now. “After diligent consideration, we believe that PayPal and eBay are better together,” wrote Omidyar. “In the future, if we determine that’s no longer true, we will act accordingly and in the best interests of shareholders and the company.” Read more

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