says demanding review of eBay records
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[March 04, 2014]
By Sam Forgione
NEW YORK (Reuters) — Activist investor
Carl Icahn is demanding a review of eBay Inc's records on its sale
of Skype, reiterating his view that eBay board member Marc
Andreessen had conflicts of interest, while eBay called Icahn's
criticisms "false and misleading."
In an open letter to shareholders on Monday, Icahn said "Mr.
Andreessen's conflicts are clear and insurmountable." He also said
his firm is "in the process of demanding an inspection of eBay's
relevant books and records pursuant to our right as stockholders
under Delaware law."
Icahn, who has a 2.15 percent stake in eBay and has called for the
e-commerce giant to spin off its fast-growing PayPal payments
business, has publicly feuded with the company in recent weeks over
eBay's 2009 sale of a majority stake in Skype to private investors.
Icahn said that Andreessen, whose venture capital firm was one of
the investors in the group to which eBay sold its majority stake in
Skype for $1.9 billion, subsequently benefited from the group's sale
of the online phone service in 2011 to Microsoft for $8.5 billion.
Icahn said in a letter on February 24 that, as a board member,
Andreessen had been exposed to nonpublic eBay information while
investing in and advising five eBay competitors.
"In response to false and misleading information being disseminated
by an activist shareholder about the company's 2009 divestiture of
Skype, eBay Inc today reiterated previously disclosed public
information," eBay said Monday in a statement in which it summarized
the process of the sale.
Andreessen said that he had disqualified himself from participating
in the eBay board's divestiture of Skype, and said, "I do not serve
on the board of any company with any significant competitive overlap
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Icahn, who is known for taking large stakes in companies and pushing
for management change, was not immediately available for comment.
Icahn is chairman of investment firm Icahn Enterprises L.P.. Icahn
Enterprises reported fourth-quarter revenue of $4.9 billion and
$20.7 billion in revenues for all of 2013, marking increases from
the previous periods.
Icahn's investment firm earned a 31 percent return last year, he
said in another letter to shareholders on Monday. That more than
quadrupled the performance of the average hedge fund, which rose
roughly 6.5 percent, according to data from Hedge Fund Research.
(Reporting by Sam Forgione; editing by
Dan Grebler and Richard Chang)
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