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Could Icahn vs. eBay Inc. be a serious threat to your business?

By Dan Wilson February 27, 2014 - 4:32 am

Rewind. Carl Icahn (who is dubbed an activist investor) has been buying up eBay stock. He may own as much as 2% of the company.

Earlier in the year, as we reported, he was making demands including nominating two members to the eBay Inc. board and also pressing for eBay Inc. to split off PayPal.

At first glance this does all seem fanciful but Icahn isn’t a chap who messes about, it seems. And now the ante has been upped. We could be looking at a serious dispute.

Tamebay has neither the expertise or indeed the insider knowledge on such things to be able to report any new information. But there are sources out there which can illuminate the exact details of this brouhaha much better. It’s a developing story so check out Google if you are particularly voracious for news.

Firstly, Forbes provides an incisive look at the accusations and claims with some evidence of eBay Inc.’s fightback. CNBC also casts some light.

In some sort of amateurish summary: Icahn accuses the eBay board of bad practice and conflicts of interest over both PayPal and (rewind again) Skype. eBay Inc., needless to say has repelled those accusations. Doubtless we’ll see more cross-fire in the days and weeks to come.

As always at Tamebay, we try and focus on what matters to the ecommerce traders who rely on eBay and PayPal everyday for a living and we also think of the many providers who serve that ecosystem. So what does all this mean?

Not much right now. Carry on regardless. But rather like mortals looking up to the bickering gods on Mount Olympus, this may have some sort of trickle down. An eBay/PayPal split up still seems unlikely and unattractive to me though.

But be in no doubt, as millionaires (indeed billionaires) squabble about corporate governance and the like, you are not on their mind. The welfare of your business is not at stake for them. This is an argument about the big bucks. eBay Inc. chaos is a possibility though, however distant.

Shakespeare: “As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods. They kill us for their sport.”

  • northumbrian
    3 years ago

    some insider knowledge or insight even discussion on whats coming in the new seller release is far more urgent and interesting to me ,than something I can do bugger all about

    • 3 years ago

      Seller Release info coming soon. Can’t provide exact date. But we’re on the case and grateful as ever that we’ll have cooperation from eBay with a forewarned/forearmed preview. Needless to say, you’ll be the first to know when we can tell you.

  • JD
    3 years ago

    And if you can do something about the seller release I will send you my list!

    • northumbrian
      3 years ago

      I can alter or change my methods ,I can jump thru more hoops ,or sweat more blood,
      I can do sod all to change anything in ebays boardroom,
      its what is happening in the trenches that matter to me

    • 3 years ago

      We can’t change it certainly. But we will report it, as fully as we possibly can. We’re on the case.

    • northumbrian
      3 years ago

      awww go on tell us , is it just a vital organ their going to want ,or just a few pints of blood lol

  • Gary
    3 years ago

    Maybe Mr Icahn can fire all the staff responsible for seller releases? Do the customers want them?

    • JD
      3 years ago

      Seller releases are a fact of life.

      As long as what they include is rational / usable and adds value for the users of the site, with relatively painless implementation, long live seller releases.

      Can’t believe I just said that – of course it’ll never happen.

  • northumbrian
    3 years ago

    there need to be rules and conditions in any business, sacking those that are responsible would put us all out of a job?

  • Gary
    3 years ago

    Why keep changing the rules? Consistency helps business not disruption.

    • northumbrian
      3 years ago

      we are always tweaking and evolving our terms and conditions to counter different situations and problems that arise, ebay do the same,

    • Gary
      3 years ago

      The only terms and conditions that matter are ebays. No tweak in the universe will counter these. On March 11th expect tweaks that benefit ebay and Mr Icahn as ebay have to keep him happy.

    • northumbrian
      3 years ago

      and why not its their business

    • Gary
      3 years ago

      I’m not bothered as I have more than one profitable pie. Those who only have one pie should be. ebay could at a stroke abandon auctions and then what?

    • northumbrian
      3 years ago

      so what ? ebay at a stroke could buy Greggs and control lots of pies

    • Gary
      3 years ago

      If you only sell through one channel by auction then March 11th could be doomsday! Greggs pies or no Greggs pies. It probably won’t be but there is always that risk if not now then in a future seller release.

    • northumbrian
      3 years ago

      were going to develop our career as phantom bloggers lol

    • northumbrian
      3 years ago

      PS, Gary
      if ebay do force us to change direction ,it is you that should be concerned , because we will change, adapt ,compete, were life long members of the anything you can do ,we can do better club,

    • 3 years ago

      Prefer Pasties myself – the food of the Gods

  • 3 years ago

    Why would anybody want eBay and Paypal to split? They work perfectly together and no other platform has anything like this.

    • northumbrian
      3 years ago

      to line their own pockets

  • Alex
    3 years ago

    I have to ask in the nicest possible way if Northumbrian is a TameBay Alias (or stooge?) for the purpose of questioning the issue at hand?

    Funny how he always has first comment on so many issues and then many more as the thread progresses. Does he actually run an eBay business? If so how can he spend so much time on TameBay?

    Me thinks connected to TameBay!!!

    • northumbrian
      3 years ago

      god forbid , were not anoraks, nothing to do with tamebay at all , were just bored and use tamebay to ramble and rant while pictures upload lol

    • 3 years ago

      Chris and I are the only people who work on Tamebay with any regularity and we only post using our real names. Simple as.

    • 3 years ago

      People always comment trying to figure out who this northumbrian character is. The funny part is he hides in plain site but nobody notices. I figured out who he was three or more years ago and felt really dumb when I hadn’t realized sooner.

    • northumbrian
      3 years ago

      barmy bugger LOL

    • northumbrian
      3 years ago

      We all are caught in the middle
      of one long treacherous riddle.
      Can I trust you?
      Should you trust me too?…
      We shamble on through this hell
      taking on more secrets to sell
      ’til there comes a day
      when we sell our souls away.

  • davelovesebay
    3 years ago

    Carl Icahns right, you yourself regularly post about new payment providers doing something new the latest was Zapp .

    Carl Icahn feels that under ebay, paypal cannot not be innovative enough, or grow as it should, and having ebay hold it back is a long term problem for paypal, which is the driving force behind ebay incs growth.

    Spit them up, ebay.com focus on eCommerce and growth like they should be, and let paypal focus on payments.

    It makes no sense to keep them together, all we have now is a mismatch that leads to decisions no ones happy with.

  • Alex
    3 years ago

    OK, I take your responce at face value.

    Moving on, WHAT EXACTLY is the relationship between TameBay and eBay?

    In the interest of transparancy I think this is worth asking.

    Lets face it eBay and PayPal are anything but transparant so I (and i’m sure many others too) would love clarification on this point.

    • 3 years ago

      Alex,

      We’ve clarified this before and I’m very happy to do it again in the interests of transparency.

      Tamebay is entirely independent and editorially free. We have advertisors (of who eBay and PayPal are among). Editorial is not sold. Only ads.

      On occasion we’ll get exclusive briefings from eBay Inc. (and other companies) and we’ll always respect their embargoes.

      Chris and I also very occasionally offer paid-for consultancy to teams within eBay Inc. on a freelance basis.

      I also have two shares in eBay Inc. from when I worked for the company in 1999-2006. They’re worth about $100, I think.

      Neither Chris nor I are employees of eBay Inc.

      It really is that simple.

      Dan Wilson

    • Alex
      3 years ago

      Thats exactly my point.

      How can you be “entirely independent and editorially free” when engaging in paid consultancy for eBay” and then also gaining advertising revenues from both eBay and PayPal?

      Surely this is a conflict of interests?

      In my book you don’t bite the hand that feeds you!!

  • 3 years ago

    *shrugs*

    I have been entirely honest. If you don’t like it, that’s up to you.

    I’m not going to justify how I make my living, and be lectured on transparency, but an anonymous poster who doesn’t provide any link to a business or website.

    I would remind you Tamebay isn’t compulsory. And you might prefer to find your ecommerce information elsewhere.

    Dan Wilson

    • Gerry007
      3 years ago

      .
      Here, here…!!

    • 3 years ago

      Surely its like reading a Daily Newspaper or perhaps watching the BBC. If you read the Daily Telegraph you know that their views are right of centre but not necessarily Tory Party. If you read the Daily Mirror you know that the views are left of centre but not necessarily Labour Party. If you watch the BBC you know that the views are all straight Labour Party. But if you tune into Tamebay you know that the views are essentially from 2 people who on the whole try to be fair and reasonable. I think that most of us regulars are happy with that.

  • JD
    3 years ago

    Tamebay – everyday. Must goto site for ecommerce info and comment.

    As for northumbrian ‘phantom of the blog’ whatever next – a musical perhaps?

    Top blog thanks to Chris and Dan.

  • John
    3 years ago

    Anyone that wants to follow Ichan he now has an FB page

    https://www.facebook.com/carlicahn?rf=111884878824030

  • john
    3 years ago

    had to do a little more reading on this.

    Ebays fight back page https://bettertogether.ebayinc.com/

    I really love this statement by ebay inc “We challenge Mr. Icahn to end his own charade with our shareholders. Let’s focus on honest, accurate debate”

    So as a seller, we know ebay cannot debate. We know many things they do are not accurate.

    Honesty, Well I think that bridge is burning rapidly.

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