FINANCE

Carl Icahn, EBay trade accusations

BY Dan Berthiaume

San Jose, Calif. – Billionaire investor Carl Icahn and EBay are engaging in a public war of words that was ignited by an open letter Icahn sent to EBay shareholders on Monday, Feb. 24. In the letter, Icahn accused EBay CEO John Donahoe of ignoring conflicts of interest on its board and called for the company to spin off PayPal.

Icahn also disclosed he now owns 2.15% of EBay’s stock. The letter specifically alleged that board member Marc Andreesseen has personally gained by purchasing large stakes in former EBay subsidiaries and advised and invested in direct EBay competitors Boku, Coinbase, Dwolla, Jumio and Fab.

Icahn also claimed that Andreesseen was part of an investor group that purchased Skype from EBay for far less than EBay paid and then sold it at substantial profit to Microsoft 18 months later, and that Andreesseen gained from investing in online shopping platform Kynetic, which EBay sold back to its founders at a low price in 2011. As for Intuit founder and board member Cook, Icahn’s letter said Intuit is a direct competitor of PayPal because of its Go-Payment service. He called upon the entire EBay board to resign immediately, and said he will present a slate of candidates for EBay’s upcoming board of directors election.

In a press release dated Feb. 24, EBay responded to Icahn’s letter by saying it cherry-picked old and out of context news clips and anecdotes. EBay also said it has determined that its shareholders would be best served by keeping PayPal part of EBay and refuted all allegations of misconduct or incompetence against Andreesseen, Cook and Donahoe.

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FINANCE

Dillard’s net income falls in Q4

BY Dan Berthiaume

Little Rock, Ark. – Dillard’s Inc. reported declining net income for the fourth quarter and fiscal year 2014. Compared to the same period a year earlier, Dillard’s reported a 26% decline in net income to $119.1 million from $161.4 million.

Net sales in the fourth quarter declined 3% to $2.03 billion from $2.1 billion, and same-store sales grew 2%. During the fiscal year, net income dropped about 4% to $323.7 million from $336 million, and net sales slightly declined to $6.53 billion from $6.59 billion. Same-store sales rose 1%.

Looking ahead, Dillard’s plans to open two new stores in October 2014: a 200,000-sq.-ft. location in The Shops at Summerlin in Las Vegas and a 180,000-sq.-ft. location in The Mall at University Town Center in Sarasota, Fla.

Dillard’s cited the extra week in the 53-week fiscal 2013 period, as well as one-time tax benefits and after-tax gains, as reasons for the year-over-year drop in net income.

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REAL ESTATE

Dick’s Sporting Goods to open in Panama City, Fla.

BY Dan Berthiaume

Pittsburgh – Dick’s Sporting Goods opens a new store in Panama City Beach, Fla., on March 7. The store will be located at Pier Park North and will be the retailer’s 25th store in the state of Florida and its 559th nationwide.

"We’re excited to be joining Panama City Beach with the opening of our newest location," said Lauren Hobart, senior VP & chief marketing officer, Dick’s Sporting Goods. "We look forward to offering the finest quality products and a team of associates that is dedicated to exceptional customer service."

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