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Icahn says eBay corporate governance worst ever: CNBC

Billionaire activist-investor Carl Icahn gives an interview on FOX Business Network's Neil Cavuto show in New York February 11, 2014. REUTER
Billionaire activist-investor Carl Icahn gives an interview on FOX Business Network's Neil Cavuto show in New York February 11, 2014. REUTER

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn said Wednesday that corporate governance at e-commerce giant eBay Inc., in which he is a shareholder, was the worst he had ever seen.

"I've never seen worse corporate governance than eBay," Icahn told CNBC television. Icahn, who has a 2.15 percent stake in eBay, is known for taking large stakes in companies and pushing for management change.

Icahn also said that eBay chief executive John Donahoe should not have control over PayPal, the company's fast-growing payments business.

Icahn has called for the company to spin off PayPal. He has publicly feuded with eBay over its 2009 sale of a majority stake in online phone service Skype to private investors, including eBay board member Marc Andreessen's venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.

Icahn, who has criticized Andreessen for profiting from the subsequent sale of Skype to Microsoft for $8.5 billion in 2011, told CNBC that he "might blame Donahoe more than Andreessen for letting it happen."

Donahoe told Fox Business Network on Wednesday that eBay's corporate governance was on "very solid ground" and reiterated that eBay and PayPal benefit from being a single entity.

"We know this is sort of the antics that Carl uses and that's fine," Donahoe said, and said that "the synergies with eBay are the strongest synergies you'll find with PayPal in any other company."

Icahn, whose investment firm has a stake of more than $4 billion in Apple Inc., reiterated Wednesday that the company was undervalued and said that chief executive Tim Cook was "doing a good job."

Icahn, chairman of Icahn Enterprises L.P., was not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by Sam Forgione; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Andrew Hay)

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