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Andreeseen's EBay Role Causes Icahn To Lash Out

Feb 25 2014

English: Co-founder of , at the Tech Crunch40 ...

English: Co-founder of , at the Tech Crunch40 conference. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Marc Andreessen, a well-known venture capitalist from Silicon Valley, recently endured attacks from Carl Icahn. Due to a possible conflict of interest, Icahn asked Andreessen to step down from his respected position as one of EBay's board members.

In a strange turn of events, Icahn attempted to gain support for his nominees by encouraging fellow shareholders to take his side . He was concentrating his efforts on governing the corporate structure of EBay. In short, he is trying to convince this auction giant to spin off PayPal, their successful payments business.

The attack against Andreessen was pretty aggressive and a bit odious. Icahn accused him of buying assets at a deep discount from EBay so he can make money for Andreessen-Horowitz, his own investment firm. In the process, he allegedly made billions of dollars, which is why the subject of EBay holding their own assets never came up.

Andreessen-Horowitz was part of the conglomerate that purchased a large claim in Skype for $2.75 billion. They sold it to eBay some time later for $8.5 billion.
Andreessen also invested in several companies rivaling PayPal--including Fab, Dwolla, and Coinbase. Carl Icahn continues to question his integrity, since he has such a vested interest in EBay's competitors.

Because of Icahn's tough stance, EBay shares opened 2% higher than normal. Shareholders believed his strong position will compel him to make changes that will work in their favor. Based on Mr. Carl Icahn's last statements, he doesn't understand why taking a stance is even necessary. He thinks a director who puts his own personal needs in front of the company's needs should resign immediately.

Icahn also attacked Scott Cook, another board member who invested large sums of money into PayPal's competitors. He questions Cook's intentions as well, but EBay does not seem to share Icahn's sentiment. In a brief statement, EBay praised Scott Cook and Mark Andreessen for making valuable contributions to the company. They also claim to have transparency and legitimacy within their governing body.

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