EBay squabble turns into all-out war

Will Carl Icahn's fury have an impact on the company or its shareholders?

By Motley Fool Investor Beat Mar 5, 2014 4:02PM
What was initially a somewhat forceful opinion from well-known billionaire and activist investor Carl Icahn that eBay (EBAY) should spin off its PayPal business to unlock shareholder value has now turned into all-out rancor.

EBay's refusal for the time being to consider spinning off the business has left Icahn calling attention to other parts of eBay's business, and stating publicly that this was one of the worst-run companies he's ever seen.
In his most recent point of ire with eBay as a company, Icahn is calling attention to its handling of its Skype spin-off a few years ago. The company sold Skype to an investor group led by Marc Andreessen, who sits on the board of directors at eBay, and who was able to turn around and sell Skype to Microsoft (MSFT) for significantly more money, which Icahn saw as eBay leaving a huge amount of money on the table. (Microsoft owns and publishes Top Stocks, an MSN Money site.)Carl Icahn in Oct. 2007 (© Mark Lennihan/AP Photo)

Regarding PayPal, however, the question remains: Is Icahn (pictured) right here? Would separating PayPal into a standalone company be worth more to shareholders than leaving the two united?

In this video from Wednesday's Stock of the Day, Motley Fool financial analyst Matt Koppenheffer says that he thinks it probably would. Despite Icahn's prickly approach, his track record for these crusades has been good, and the market very likely could attach a premium to PayPal if it were independent.

That being said, Matt isn't an eBay buyer today. While he is drawn to the stock for the strength of the PayPal business, Matt says he's more inclined to wait until the fervor Icahn has created dies down here.

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Tags: EBAYMSFT
93Comments
Mar 5, 2014 4:50PM
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My guess is Icahn wouldn't be pushing for this unless he stood to make a pretty penny off of it.

Mar 5, 2014 6:51PM
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At one time..... e-bay WAS the place to go and shop to find a really good deal on merchandise. Key word here is "At One Time" NO MORE are the days of e-bay being a fun place to shop! Corporate Greed has taken over and e-bay is NO LONGER the preferred online market place. The fees they charge sellers ( 15-20% of selling price ) have pushed up all the prices of merchandise to the point of finding a Good Deal is quite hard and the e-bay search engine is clearly broken! Too Bad Greed ruined this ONCE FUN Site :(
Mar 5, 2014 7:20PM
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After robing TWA and it's pension of billions of dollars and making out like a bandit. This guy is one of the greatest  thieves that ever lived. He should be in prison and not giving others advice on how to run a company.
Mar 5, 2014 5:08PM
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Why, pray tell, would anybody listen to Carl Icahn?  He has no interest in anything except his own personal greed.  Please leave and take the Koch brothers with you to someplace far, far away.
Mar 5, 2014 6:26PM
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Only thing Icahn is interested in, the guy he sees in the mirror....... UGLY but lots of $$$$$$$
Mar 5, 2014 6:53PM
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Why does anyone listen to these Corporate Raiders? The only thing they are good for is stripping down companies and selling off the profitable parts, and trashing the rest for a fat tax write off. We should be treating these people how we used to treat Pirates in the old days. Quarter them, and stick a body part in the 4 corners of America.
Mar 5, 2014 6:37PM
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I wish MSN would cool it with these  god dam videos that eat up bandwidth. 
Mar 5, 2014 11:15PM
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There's a special place in hell waiting for Icahn for robbing the pensions of TWA workers while walking away with over one billion dollars.
Mar 5, 2014 7:38PM
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I sold a $6.00 item with free shipping. on eBay

What a surprise when they charged $5.87 and I still paid the shipping.

Not a money maker for sure.

Mar 5, 2014 5:50PM
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I quit doing business on Ebay several years ago, there were just too many misrepresented products and shill bidders.
Mar 5, 2014 6:13PM
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Ebay can kiss my asss cheeks...Pay Pal can kiss the groove...
Mar 5, 2014 9:57PM
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If Icahn doesn't like it he can shut up and sell.  More then a few people are tired of listening to this blowhard.  We all also know he's not in it for any 'shareholder' except himself.



Mar 5, 2014 11:19PM
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eBay is absolutely ripe for well-run, well-funded competition.  Amazon is eating their lunch from a customer service standpoint as they (eBay) continue to rape their sellers.  Unlike Amazon, for eBay it's "no sellers.....no business".   A good competitor would take most of their single price and all of their auction business.  It's coming.
Mar 5, 2014 6:22PM
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Ebay is pointless now. Used to be able to get decent deals, but most time most of the auctions are selling things for more than what you would pay for the item brand new in a store.
It doesn't help that ebay used to make it really difficult to go after sellers who never shipped items. The only way I got the form to file a complaint was by emailing ebay for it because their site would have you click around in circles never leading you to the proper form to fill out.

Mar 5, 2014 5:47PM
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I got rid of e-bay because they tried to take 20.00 out of my account every month for buying not selling.And try to talk to them and get somebody on a phone yeahh.
Mar 5, 2014 10:23PM
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Ebay SUCKS!  No other company has lost more of it's revenue (sellers) than ebay over the last 7 years.  Anyone that still sells on ebay is either in denial (that paying 13% in fees is good business) or ignorant - Ebay's days are numbered and it's only a matter of time before they get their 'Burger King' and someone else (who takes care of business) puts them out of their over-inflated misery.

Are you listening Google?
Mar 5, 2014 9:53PM
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Ebay is a greedy company that I wouldn't ever use....They have charges for everything and
there are never any really good buys....by the time your done with all the stupid fees, you could
pick better stuff up at your local thrift shop, or garage sales....Stay away from Ebay....

Mar 5, 2014 10:03PM
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Who cares what that grouchy old fart has to say?
Mar 5, 2014 6:41PM
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In the earl days, PayPal used to be separate from eBay. I think such a sale would hurt their competitiveness with Amazon.
Mar 5, 2014 5:17PM
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