Okay, so here is the recap of the mutual mudslinging (or catfight, take your pick) contest between activist investor Carl Icahn and several others. It is a bit more sophisticated than the Palin family’s hillbilly brawl in Alaska, but unlike that incident covered with a cloud of obscurity, we have a blow by blow account in our tournament, courtesy of financial media.
I have to admit, I don’t know whether Marc Andreessen or Carl Icahn started it, there are conflicting reports, but not to imply I’m on anyone’s side, let’s start with Marc:
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Marc: “Icahn just makes stuff up. He slanders. His inner six year old comes out. He makes no sense, ” to CNBC, and he added that Icahn, when grabs companies by the scruff of the neck, cares less that he is “affecting the lives of tens of thousands of people.” He then called Icahn an “Evil Captain Kirk” referring to the Star Trek episode when Kirk’s evil twin sabotages the Star Trek Enterprise.
Icahn fired back on CNBC that Andresseen has “screwed more people than Casanova, ” stole Twitter from Ebay and was going to do the same with Paypal. He then said Andreessen spoke in a high, squeaky voice and it was difficult for Icahn to take him seriously.
Oil and natural gas investor, who wasn’t even really involved in this fight, said Carl Icahn’s activist investing style made him “as smooth as a stucco bathtub.”
Earlier in the week, Icahn sent a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook that he should do a “massive” tender offer with his excess cash. Now Michael Dell has joined the fight and is telling Icahn to stop bossing people around.
“He is a bad guy, ” said Dell. “He lies. He has no ethical boundaries. He will say anything. Do anything. I have no time for him.”
And Michael Dell really didn’t have time for him; Icahn tried to stop the Dell founder from a $24.9 billion leveraged buyout of the company last year. Dell made these comments at the BoB conference in Orlando Florida. Icahn called the leveraged buyout “a desperate debacle” and branded Dell a “dictator”
Dell’s comments about Icahn drew applause, and were validated by David Powell of Teklinks who told CRL that what Dell said about Icahn was “bold” and many in the tech industry felt the same way. Bob Venero, CEO of FutureTech, elaborated. “He is disruptive and is only looking to line his own pockets at the expense of others’ jobs and lives…based on the destructive nature of what he brings to companies.”
Wow, if I could make a sequel to the film Wall Street, I’d make it a bitchy cat-fight like this one. Cool.