Uncle Carl has been railing about eBay’s refusal to do what he wants it to do for seven whole weeks now, with new missives every other business day, plus countless tweets and television appearances, about how very badly run is a company that he owns 2% of. Perhaps he realizes that not everyone will wish to read the tens (hundreds? We’ve lost count.) of thousands of words he’s penned on the matter. So allow him to make his case in 23.

CARL ICAHN ON EBAY: CONFLICTS OF INTEREST! OPTIONS BACKDATING SCANDAL! INVESTMENTS IN DIRECT COMPETITORS! DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE INVESTIGATION! THESE ARE “WORLD-CLASS” DIRECTORS?

OK, maybe a few more:

I believe that the Skype affair, only some of the sordid details of which we recently exposed, represents a complete and utter breakdown in the system of checks and balances that a properly functioning board should provide. Without a strong and independent board that rejects cronyism and is willing to hold management accountable, I believe that eBay stockholders may again suffer a travesty even worse than what was visited upon them when Skype was sold prematurely and $4 billion of upside was lost….

MESSAGE TO EBAY’S BOARD: THESE TYPES OF SHENANIGANS MAY FLY IN COUNTRIES WHERE DECISIONS AFFECTING MILLIONS OF PEOPLE’S LIVES ARE MADE IN SECRET POLITBURO MEETINGS. BUT I BELIEVE ONE OF THE THINGS WHICH MAKES OUR COUNTRY THE GREATEST ON EARTH IS OUR DEMOCRATIC FORM OF GOVERNMENT, WHERE DELIBERATIONS ARE CONDUCTED IN THE LIGHT OF DAY AND OUR LEADERS ARE ACCOUNTABLE TO THE PEOPLE. LEGISLATION SUCH AS THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT ENSURES THAT NOTHING STAYS BURIED FOR LONG. THE WORDS OF JUSTICE LOUIS BRANDEIS ARE JUST AS RELEVANT TODAY AS THEY WERE IN 1913: “PUBLICITY IS JUSTLY COMMENDED AS A REMEDY FOR SOCIAL AND INDUSTRIAL DISEASES. SUNLIGHT IS SAID TO BE THE BEST OF DISINFECTANTS; ELECTRIC LIGHT THE MOST EFFICIENT POLICEMAN….”

I have been so successful with companies over the years because I have brought in the right CEO. Sometimes convincing boards to make changes takes years, but when change ultimately comes the results are often startlingly good. In just the last year, simply examine our successes at Forest Laboratories and Chesapeake Energy. We believe that at the very least, eBay stockholders must send Donahoe and the board a message that we are very unhappy with the current situation at eBay.

Above emphases very definitely the author’s. And he didn’t even get to the part about how, in spite of protestations to the contrary, eBay’s own board apparently doesn’t think much of the job this Donahoe character is doing, even without two people on Icahn’s payroll weighing in on the matter.

Carl Icahn Open Letter to eBay Shareholders [Shareholders’ Square Table]
EBay CEO Donahoe’s total pay for 2013 sinks 53 pct [AP via WaPo]

16 comments (hidden to protect delicate sensibilities)
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Comments (16)

  1. Posted by Guest | March 13, 2014 at 9:49 AM

    [youtube IO6D2RLUyNY&feature=youtu.be&t=33s http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IO6D2RLUyNY&feature=youtu.be&t=33s youtube]

  2. Posted by Guest | March 13, 2014 at 9:58 AM

    Shaz: you're biting the hand that cites you.

  3. Posted by investorcluzo | March 13, 2014 at 10:57 AM

    All caps AND bold, the old guy means business!
    -Activist Letter Writing Quant

  4. Posted by SAT College Board | March 13, 2014 at 1:19 PM

    Bill Ackman : Herbalife :: Carl Icahn : ??

    a- Herbalife
    b- eBay
    c- Dairy Queen

  5. Posted by guest | March 13, 2014 at 1:24 PM

    the smell of desperation coming off this letter is nauseating

  6. Posted by Depends PR | March 13, 2014 at 1:36 PM

    Desperation… yes… that's what it is.

  7. Posted by Quant me maybe ... | March 13, 2014 at 3:35 PM

    I wonder if he does his own makeup?

    >because the face says jaundice, except around the eyes.

  8. Posted by Guest | March 13, 2014 at 3:51 PM

    I wonder if he does his own typing?

    >because the cap locks say "I don't have to obey the laws of business letter writing; people are interested in what I say, not how I type"

  9. Posted by Guest | March 13, 2014 at 3:52 PM

    Exclamation points pale in existence to caps lock.

  10. Posted by seeker137 | March 13, 2014 at 11:35 PM

    eBay's upper management is comprised of Bain Capital Asset Strippers. They do not care about long term building or even losses if they can "Cash-out." eBay's John Donahoe cashed-out last year to the tune of 29.7 million dollars. Ebay's upper management acts akin to a Mafia shakedown of business owners back in the day. They intimidate, extort and if you do not pay? They shut your business down. And if you become to informed, and might rat them out? They also shut you down. Thus eBay wanting to purge experienced sellers and replace them with new uninformed sellers.
    EBay dehumanizes sellers. In 2007 Bain Capital hijacked eBay and made it into a mercenary, predatory, corrupt entity.

  11. Posted by Dog Urns Earn | March 14, 2014 at 2:03 AM

    Exclamation points? Bad 80's haircut and retro 80's English. Hmmm. Why are the eyebrows dark and the rest of the sphere is so gray? What good is being a billionaire if you can't coordinate things like this?

  12. Posted by Ellen | March 14, 2014 at 5:36 PM

    I do follow Carl faithfully everyday and I do buy off of ebay and I do use Paypal (probably excessively) but unless Carl is wiling to put his money where his'!' is, I'm firmly behind ebay. If Carl dumps more money into Paypal then I will reconsider my position. So far ebay and paypal are working well as is…for me…the end user.

  13. Posted by بليندر تصميم رسومات | March 15, 2014 at 7:10 PM

    They do not care about long term building or even losses if they can "Cash-out."

  14. Posted by philipcohen | March 15, 2014 at 8:35 PM

    “How to complain about PayPal in the UK”

    As a matter of interest, another (currently) 410 negative comments on “PreyPal”—well worth a read for any merchant that has not yet had a problem with “PreyPal” because, when you eventually do have that problem, it could well be a serious problem …
    http://www.mukaumedia.co.uk/complain-paypal-uk/

  15. Posted by العاب كوافير | March 20, 2014 at 8:25 PM

    nice poste

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