Tags: Icahn | corporate | governance | eBay

Carl Icahn: 'I've Never Seen Worse Corporate Governance Than eBay'

Wednesday, 05 Mar 2014 11:11 AM

By Dan Weil

Activist investor Carl Icahn's war of words with eBay continues, as he pushes for the company to spin off its PayPal unit.

"I've never seen worse corporate governance than eBay," he told CNBC.

He's upset that eBay sold Skype in a September 2009 for only $2.75 billion to an investor group that included eBay board member Marc Andreessen. The group itself sold Skype 1 ½ years later to Microsoft for $8.5 billion.

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Icahn scoffs at the idea that Andreessen's group was the only bidder for Skype. "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.'"

Icahn was strongly critical of U.S. corporate governance in general, saying even Congress is doing a better job running the country than corporate boards are doing as they direct 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," he said.

EBay CEO John Donahoe defended keeping eBay and PayPal together in an interview that appeared in The Wall Street Journal Wednesday.

"EBay and PayPal we believe are stronger together than they would be apart," he said. "EBay helps PayPal grow faster by creating a flywheel effect because PayPal is the primary and, in some cases, exclusive way to pay on eBay."

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