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Icahn Unhappy With Google-AOL News

David A. Utter
Staff Writer
Published: 2005-12-19

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A $1 billion cash infusion by Google into AOL in exchange for a 5 percent minority stake has powerful investor Carl Icahn concerned that Time Warner is "on the verge of making a disastrous decision."

A billion dollars. As in a one followed by nine zeroes, before you even consider the need for a decimal point. It sounds like a decent sum for any transaction in the world. But in the business of high-finance, where zeroes occupy the space behind a meaningless first digit, the world is not enough.

Carl Icahn criticized the stories sweeping the news about Google's $1 billion bid for a small piece of Time Warner's AOL. In a report from MarketWatch, an open letter from Icahn to the Time Warner board took them to task for considering the proposal.

The real risk for Time Warner shareholders is that a Google joint venture may be short-sighted in nature and may preclude any consideration of a broader set of alternatives that would better maximize value and ensure a bright future for AOL."

Icahn doesn't care for Microsoft either, the report said. Instead he cited an analyst report from Goldman Sachs that said "eBay, followed by InterActive Corp, would provide greater incremental benefits to AOL's option value with fewer conflicts of interest than Yahoo! while MSN and Google would provide the least incremental benefits."

He also referred to the proposed Google deal as a "blatant breach of fiduciary duty," an unsubtle threat to Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons. Icahn wants to get his hand-picked directors onto the Time Warner board, a move that Parsons and existing board members do not want to see succeed.

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About the Author:
David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

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