Motorola Beats Back Icahn
Updated from May 7
Carl Icahn's effort to force his way onto the board at Motorola (MOT) fell short Monday.
The Schaumburg, Ill.-based wireless company said it "believes" the activist investor's proxy battle failed, though it released no vote tallies and said it wouldn't do so for several weeks, until final results can be published.
The decision comes after a week in which Icahn, who owns 2.9% of Motorola shares and has been pressuring management since early this year to take action to boost the stock price, and Motorola repeatedly exchanged verbal salvoes.Motorola took issue with Icahn's membership on multiple corporate boards, saying he lacks commitment to Motorola shareholders. Icahn accused Motorola's board of taking a "business as usual" approach during a mounting crisis. Icahn had said he would seek to install a new CEO at Motorola if Ed Zander didn't show progress in turning the company around. On Monday, Motorola attempted to extend a bit of an olive branch. "On behalf of Motorola's Board of Directors and management, we thank all of our stockholders for their continued support and confidence," said Zander. "During the past few months, we have met with and listened to a large number of our stockholders, including Mr. Icahn, and we value their insights and perspective regarding Motorola. We are focused on executing our plan to improve the performance of our Mobile Devices business and building upon the strength of our strong Networks & Enterprise and Connected Home Solutions businesses. We remain steadfast in our commitment to continue building value for all of our stockholders." Motorola shares have lost more than 10% of their value this year as the company's once-hot wireless business has tanked. Zander has come under fire for having failed to find a successor to the Razr phone whose success resuscitated the company earlier in Zander's tenure. Icahn, speaking at the cell-phone giant's annual shareholder meeting earlier Monday, said he believed he had the support of numerous small shareholders but not that of the large funds he'd need to take over the company's management, The Associated Press reported.
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