Activist investor Carl Icahn softened his demands for eBay (EBAY) to spin off its PayPal unit. For months, Icahn has waged a very public and contentious battle with eBay, calling on the company to completely spin off PayPal. eBay has consistently maintained that PayPal and eBay are better off staying together. Yesterday, Icahn changed his tune and called on eBay to sell only 20% of PayPal in an IPO rather than spin off the whole unit.
In the associated video, Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Aaron Task spoke with Lauren Lyster about Icahn's change of heart. Task calls this a retreat for Icahn. “I don’t think there’s any other way to spin it,” he said. “It is definitely a bit of a tactical retreat for him.”
In recent months, Icahn has issued a series of scathing open letters critical of eBay's Chief Executive John Donahoe and the company's board. Icahn also has questioned the company's corporate governance.
While the latest move from Icahn may be a retreat, Task says that Icahn is out to make money at the end of the day. Agitating the board of eBay and other companies like Apple has driven up their share price. “He doesn’t care how he gets there,” Task said. “If the share price goes higher, he’s going to be happy.”