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Carl Icahn Moves In On eBay

Activist investor pushes company to split off PayPal payments business.

Activist investor Carl Icahn is looking to separate eBay Inc. from its PayPal payments business.

The Web giant said Icahn acquired enough shares and derivatives to give him an economic interest in 0.8 percent of the company’s stock.

Icahn also nominated two of his employees for seats on the firm’s board and “submitted a non-binding proposal for a spinoff of its PayPal business into a separate company,” eBay said.

While welcoming “the opportunity to listen to the perspective” of Icahn, eBay said its board “does not believe that breaking up the company is the best way to maximize shareholder value.”

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“Payment is part of commerce, and as part of eBay, PayPal drives commerce innovation in payments at global scale, creating value for consumers, merchants and shareholders,” the company said. Icahn has also been nudging Apple Inc. to buy back stock, returning some of the billions in its coffers to shareholders.

The revelation came as eBay closed the book on 2013. The company’s net profits for the year rose 9 percent to $2.86 billion, or $2.18 a diluted share, as revenues increased 14 percent to $16.05 billion.

EBay’s marketplace e-commerce business saw its revenues increase 12 percent to $8.28 billion for the year on gross merchandise volume of $76.5 billion. The payments unit drew revenues of $6.63 billion on total payment volume of $179.66 billion.