Ebay has enlisted Brunswick Group as it mounts a defense against activist investor Carl Icahn, who is pushing the online marketplace to spin off its PayPal operation.
Icahn nominated two staffers to eBay's board and is pushing shareholders to support "separating" PayPal from eBay. He sees a conflict with eBay board member Marc Andreessen, whose venture capital firm backed PayPal.
Bloomberg News reported March 13 that eBay CEO John Donahoe is stepping up his offense against Icahn, including the enlistment of Brunswick and Goldman Sachs Group, and talking the previous Icahn targets like Apple and Netflix.
Ebay's board rejected Icahn's nominees and is pushing its slate of four for re-election, including Donahoe.
Iachn released open letters to eBay stockholders on March 3 and 12 supporting his push and likening eBay's board to a "politburo."
Icahn also said eBay sold Skype prematurely in 2009, adding "the full story of what really happened with Skype seems to us to continue to remain shrouded in the type of fog and mystery often engineered by highly paid public relations consultants and lawyers, the kind of folks who invent undemocratic entrenchment devices like dual class stock so that companies can take stockholder money and then tell them to 'sit down and shut up.'"