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Carl Icahn Gets Personal Against eBay

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Activist investor Carl Icahn has made a name for himself by making boardrooms uncomfortable. After taking up recent fights against Dell and Apple (AAPL), the corporate raider has now turned his sights towards eBay (EBAY). And it's gotten personal.

Aside from demanding that eBay spin-off its popular payment system PayPal, Icahn recently claimed that board members Scott Cook and Marc Andreessen have not acted in the best interest of shareholders, to put it mildly. He has described their actions as "lapses in corporate governance."

[Read: GDP Nonevent; For Pete's Sake: Best of Kass]

In a letter to shareholders, Icahn said: "We have found ourselves in many troubling situations over the years, but the complete disregard for accountability at eBay is the most blatant we have ever seen."

Icahn was referencing Scott Cook for his investments in companies that compete with PayPal and eBay. When it came to Andreessen, Icahn claims that shareholders lost out on roughly $4 billion in profit when he sold Skype to Microsoft (MSFT) three years ago in that $8.5 billion deal. It seems so long ago.

[Read: Greenberg: Buffett Tells Investors to Get Real About EBITDA]

If you recall, Skype was originally under the eBay umbrella. Silver Lake, Andreessen's venture capital firm, bought Skype from eBay before they sold it to Microsoft. At the time of the announced deal with Microsoft, eBay celebrated the fact that it made (then) a 50% return on its initial investment of $2.6 billion in 2005. In that regard, it's hard to see what Icahn's gripe is about.

Icahn now believes that eBay should have played hardball. He insists that the company could have had a better offer for shareholders. I don't recall anyone crying foul at the time. And eBay maintained that the board had explored all possible sale offers and ultimately decided on the best deal for shareholders.

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