Silicon Valley entrepreneur and thought leader Marc Andreessen Wednesday compared activist investor Carl Icahn to fictional character Captain Kirk, in a Star Trek episode where an evil version of the captain conspires against the starship crew and the good version of himself.
Andreessen told CNBC, however, that not all activist investors are alike, saying that those like Ralph Witworth, who recently made pushes at Hewlett-Packard that helped the company, are more like the “good Captain Kirk.”
Andreessen also sits on eBay’s board and said that the company’s recent decision to split off payments company PayPal, which Icahn had been pushing, had little to do with Icahn’s activism and more to do with what was right for both companies at the moment.
These are fighting words from Marc Andreessen, who is expressing frustration with the kind of activism from the likes of Carl Icahn that Andreessen says garners the activists millions without regard to what’s best for the companies.
Icahn does have a history of meddling with retailers. In June he pushed for a sale of discount retailer Family Dollar, which set in motion the current drama of the dollar store takeover wars. That ultimately netted Icahn some $200 million when he sold his Family Dollar stake. Most recently, Icahn Thursday released a letter he sent to Apple CEO Tim Cook requesting the company repurchase "a lot more" stock "sooner."