eBay shares hit all time high, Icahn row rumbles on
In the the world of high finance, the row about eBay and PayPal’s future continues as activist investor Carl Icahn continues his assault on the company demanding the payments division be spun off. But that all seems appealing enough to the analysts and speculators because eBay’s stock price touched it’s highest level ever in the last day or so.
It’s been on the way up for a while and has teetered around the peak for a while. Now it’s bobbed down again but it’s a notable milestone. You can click on the graph to embiggen.
Icahn remains on the offensive in his attacks on eBay Inc.. He is most critical on a series of points. Firstly, that eBay fluffed the selling of Skype. He also alleges conflicts of interest when it comes to members of the board. And most critically he winds all this up into a criticism of eBay’s corporate governance, saying it’s worst example he has ever seen.
I don’t propose to detail this ongoing row in detail, but it is important. And if you want more info, there’s a huge amount of speculation and comment online. But as one pointer, these CNBC videos allow the man himself to state his views here.
And if you think this is causing trouble inside eBay, CEO John Donahoe says no (so make of that what you will): “Not much at all. We know this is sort of the antics that Carl uses and that’s fine, he does what he does. Our focus is doing what we want and what shareholders, the other large shareholders, want us to do, which is stay focused on innovating and executing in the market. That’s the best way to drive shareholder value. That’s what I’m doing. That’s what we’re doing.”
So eBay’s focus is on shareholders. Directors who claim to focus on shareholders feel threatened so there is something to all this. My focus is on customers. ebay directors could easily have deflected all this by stating that their focus was also on customers and what they want, not even mentioning shareholders who are normally watchers rather than doers, but they didn’t. I sense trouble ahead for those who are doers (ie you and me!)
Only 5 days now to March 11th.