Supportive eBay Shareholders Emerge from the Woodwork

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- As Carl Icahn adds fire to a scorched-Earth activist campaign against eBay's (EBAY) management, board and business strategy, supportive shareholders of the company are beginning to come out and protest the billionaire activist investor's almost-daily screeds.

Smead Capital Management, a small Seattle-based mutual fund, on Wednesday wrote an open letter to Carl Icahn that questioned whether the legendary investor's criticisms of the company were short sighted and one-sided.

"Were you there in 2010?," Smead Capital chief investment officer William Smead wrote on the firm's blog.

Smead Capital counts eBay as its third largest stock position. Still, according to Bloomberg data from December, that investment is less than $100 million in total, a fraction of the size of Icahn's stake.

Smead Capital's blog post, however, underscores that there are investors who support eBay's strategy and its current management, led by CEO John Donahoe. As eBay's annual shareholder meeting approaches, it will be interesting to see if other rank-and-file shareholders come out and voice support of the company's management.

It is also worth noting that Smead Capital has invested in eBay since 2010, when shares traded below $20 apiece, whereas Icahn first disclosed an investment in the e-commerce giant in 2014.

In an interesting twist to Icahn's criticism of eBay's sale of Skype to Silver Lake Partners -- a deal that quickly paid off for the private equity giant -- Smead Capital said it sold its Microsoft (MSFT) shares shortly after the software giant bought Skype for $8.5 billion.

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