Ebay being strong-armed into installing 4 members to its board by activist investors

Ebay is being pressured by activist investor Starboard Value to install four of its directors to its boardroom.

Starboard Value has been strong-arming Ebay into making significant changes to its operations since it purchased a minority stake with Elliott Management last year.

Despite having installed one director to the 14-member board last year, Starboard Value argued that it had been too slow to make changes to its chief executive and its classified ads business.

To rectify this it is pushing Ebay to add another four of its directors to its board, and appoint an outsider as its new chief executive after pressure from the pair of activist investors forced David Wenig to resign last year.

“Given our concern over certain historical decisions, we worry that the board may default to an internal candidate,” Starboard wrote.

READ MORE: Ebay to sell South Korean arm for $5bn in latest major strategic change

Ebay branded these nominations “unwarranted and unreasonable”, adding that it was “disappointed that Starboard has decided to announce its previously provided nominations amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic while the Board and management are trying to focus on the business, employee health and safety, and the important CEO search and portfolio review that are underway”.

Starboard’s nominees include its own director of research Peter Feld, LinkedIn’s recent chief marketing officer Shannon Brayton, former Google employee Stephanie Tilenius and Broadcom’s lead independent director Eddy Hartenstein.

In March Ebay conceded and launched an in-depth strategic review of its business, with the pair pushing it to offload its ticket sale business StubHub and its classified-ads business and focus on its core marketplace offering.

This culminated in the shock departure of its chief executive David Wenig in September who said it was clear he was “not on the same page as my new board”, and the $4 billion (£3.15 billion) sales of StubHub to rival Viagogo in November.

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