Netflix Chief Expects Activist Icahn to Start Proxy Fight

Netflix Inc. (NFLX), the world’s largest video-streaming service, said it expects activist investor Carl Icahn to start a proxy battle after acquiring an almost 10 percent stake in the company.

Netflix, while willing to consider offers, isn’t interested in seeking a buyer, Jonathan Friedland, a spokesman for the Los Gatos, California-based company, said yesterday by telephone. He confirmed comments by Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings reported yesterday in the Wall Street Journal.

Icahn disclosed his investment in Netflix on Oct. 31, saying he built the holding of stock and options because of the company’s “dominant” market position in video streaming. Its international growth prospects also make it an attractive acquisition target, he said.

Netflix adopted a so-called poison pill on Nov. 5 to defend against a hostile bid. On Nov. 14, CNBC reported that Icahn was reaching out to potential buyers.

The company is positioned to remain independent after 10 years on its own, Hastings told the Journal.

Netflix fell 0.7 percent to $80.90 yesterday in New York. The shares have advanced 17 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Cliff Edwards in San Francisco at cedwards28@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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