Carl Icahn makes it personal with eBay board


Billionaire investor Carl Icahn accused John Donahoe, eBay Inc’s chief executive, of failing to spot – or ignoring – conflicts of interest on the company’s board and called again for the spinoff of its fast-growing PayPal division.

Mr Icahn, who also disclosed a 2.15 per cent stake in the e-commerce giant on Monday, said in a letter to shareholders that two board members, Marc Andreessen and Scott Cook, had business interests that directly competed with eBay and called on both to resign.

EBay accused Mr Icahn of “mudslinging”. Representatives for Mr Cook and Mr Andreessen were not available for comment.

Shares of eBay were up 3.8 per cent at $56.66 (£34) in early trading on the Nasdaq.

Mr Icahn said Mr Andreessen, who also sits on the board of Facebook Inc, had invested in and actively advised five direct competitors to eBay – Boku, Coinbase, Dwolla, Jumio and Fab. Four of these, Mr Icahn said, were direct rivals to PayPal. He also took issue with the sale of Skype in September 2009 to an investor group that included Mr Andreessen at a price that was 70 per cent less than what eBay had paid.