Icahn:PayPal & eBay Should Have Separate Management

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Jan. 22 (Bloomberg) –- Icahn Enterprises Chairman Carl Icahn discusses his proposal to have eBay spin off PayPal and why he’s increased his holdings in Apple with Trish Regan and Adam Johnson on Bloomberg Television’s “Street Smart.” (Source: Bloomberg)

What would you like to see happen with the paypal spin off?

Well, trish, we think -- with the philosophy we have, we think shareholders should have a lot more to say on the big picture items like companies.

This whole business of the eight ownership of management -- of the ownership of management, i think it is hurting the economy.

I think shareholders should have more to say.

The big picture, not micromanaging.

We have done a lot of work on ebay.

We believe without question, it is a no-brainer, paypal should be spun off.

They are saying the break off -- trish, i can't speak for the board.

You can speak for yourself with your 0.8% stake.

Why would ebay go for something like this?

I will not venture to guess right now.

When i think you say "goes for" you spin it off.

There's no reason they should be together at this point, in our opinion.

In fact, i think it would be held for a management team to be separate and they could go the wrong way.

I think the multiple would go up traumatically, and also the health of the -- would go up dramatically, and also the health of the company would be better.

If the right time for an acquisition.

Is it in part the businesses are just so different?

Well, they are different now.

I really do not think -- i think ebay has its own management.

I think they have a lot to do for themselves at this point.

Even though earnings have gone up, it is certainly lagging behind their peers.

So, i think -- there could be certain things done.

Being that said, we are putting at this moment, we are going to put a slate to them.

So, you're nominating two people to the board to try to push this idea that we should see the spin off of paypal.

It does seem when you look at what the board has said, initially, they do not like the idea, it's not the best opportunity for the company.

At i wonder, because this is the crown jewel of ebay.

This is the thing that everyone points to as the real opportunity for growth.

Yeah, but that is not the issue for the owner.

That is an issue -- you know, they are not bad people, but boards are not always on the side of the owners in many instances.

Their agendas are somewhat different.

The board likes to have a bigger company sometimes.

I have that with my own boards were i control them.

You have a difference of opinion.

I do not think in this case they should be together, but obviously the board and management -- i mean, you are saying they are concerned about losing that.

This is going to be an argument.

I think today, i think -- we are seeing sort of a cyclical change.

I think the boards are listening more to what shareholders say.

I think we will see what the shareholders want here, and if they don't, so be it.

It has been three or four years and they have not got anything done.

I remember right off the back -- i fought for four years way back to get that done, and when it was done, the shares one up fourfold.

Separating nabisco from the tobacco company.

And it took four days.

Look at time warner.

They finally did what we said for four or five years.

I think now the large shareholders and institutions want to see results, want to get more involved to some extent.

You have the situation in this country where you have a lot of potential.

You are bailed out somewhat with this market, but i don't think this market is necessarily showing what is happening in the economy.

It is time that they do not have an imperial board that decides what is good for everyone.

Looking at stock prices, it is up more than 300% over the last five years.

So, should investors -- when you look at that company, and i do not have it in front of me, but it has done much worse than its peers.

Well, it has been flat for the last year anyway and sideways for the big run-up.

How do you convince management that you are right and that spinning off paypal is going to create the value mechanism?

The way we look at it, i don't know -- i think it will be difficult to convince management.

But i think if you get the strong showing in the prefatory, i do think that has a large effect on the board.

If 51% of the shareholders to vote went to see it happen, then perhaps the board will take notice.

And you know iss would take notice of that.

I think that is the way of it now.

I think that is going to happen more and more.

I hope it will happen in here.

But again -- again, we think ebay is sort of a no-brainer.

The stock, it is a growth area.

I don't think it has done as well as it should have in its own area, ebay it self.

But obviously it has gone up.

But look at the markets.

So, again, you could say there is such a thing as the rising tide -- the rising tide raises all boats, but you know, some boats more than others, obviously.

How important is it to get the founder, who was the largest shareholder of ebay -- have you had any talks with him?

How important is it to get him?

I have had no talks with them.

I have had no talks.

He is an eight percent holder.

I think i'm a little bit more than .8 today.

That does not necessarily -- i don't think that is as important as the vote of the large shareholders, and we will see what happens there.

We will see if we can convince them.

And a vote in a prefatory is difficult to get.

No question about it.

But we intend to do it.

Blackrock is the second biggest shareholder with five percent.

How would you characterize your relationship with blackrock and whether you can get them on board?

You know, sometimes blackrock votes with us.

Sometimes they don't. when they have voted with us, hey, look, in all the proxy fights we've had in the last 5, 10 years, we have looked back.

Look how well we have done with them.

We have gone from motorola to morris.

Up 66%. it took a long time.

Finally we have the board see the stock go up 50%. most -- look at chesapeake.

I think what we say is this.

The fact that boards, you know, boards shouldn't be tampered with with management dashboards should not be -- with management boards should not be tampered with by owners, i don't think that that necessarily holds.

And we proved it.

At the risk of being immodest, i have said it many times.

Ieb is up 25% -- and i think a lot of it has to do with the fact that we are activists.

I think in this case, it is a good example.

Now, it's a big company.

So, i do not have that much influence.

So, we have to go to the shareholders.

Hopefully they will be speaking about it.

You have taken some big stakes in a lot of tech companies recently.

This comes on the heels of apple.

You tweeted today you up to your state in apple.

Why the focus on technology right now?

Well, i think apple is a value situation.

As is ebay frankly.

You are looking at low multiples.

It's not that it's a tech company.

They have such a huge circular growth pattern.

Apple is just growing.

They really are in a great spot if you look at apple.

They really have a great ecosystem.

They are in a business that is growing.

The ipad or the iphone they are growing at a 50% volume year- over-year.

These guys have 25% of the smartphone business.

And apple has kept its margins.

In fact, has probably increased it.

So, apple -- there is nothing wrong with the management of apple.

I can't necessarily say that about ebay, but i will say it about apple.

I think the board is plain wrong in not taking advantage of an under value situation at apple and using that capital to help the small shareholder.

It sounds little funny and maybe people scoff at it, but i'm almost talking gives myself when i talk about apple.

It is almost ludicrous to me that they do not use a lot of their money to keep buying up stock.

It sounds like you are not in favor of -- you are coming out in favor of tim cook?

The management of ebay, maybe no?

I think that is a good way to sum it up.

I think tim cook is doing a great job there.

I think ebay, we need to look at it more.

At i just say they certainly do not have the record.

You look at the last five years.

Certainly earnings are going up, but the fact is last year they have been flat.

They talked today about earnings.

I did not really get to hear, because you were calling me and there was another situation over here.

[laughter] i do not think their regard is all that great.

Carl icahn, coming out today,

This text has been automatically generated. It may not be 100% accurate.


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