Netflix CEO Reed Hastings finally let loose at Carl Icahn in his first public comments since the corporate raider acquired 10% of the company, dissed its strategy and said it might do better as part of deep-pocketed parent.
“We think we can make it in the long term absolutely on our own. We’ve been doing that for 10 years” Hastings told the Wall Street Journal in an interview Friday.
Icahn also slammed the streaming video company’s corporate governance policies after it put in place a poison pill to block hostile overtures. Also called a shareholder rights plan, it would make an acquisition excessively expensive for an unwelcome buyer.
To push through his agenda, Icahn often fields his own slate of directors, including himself, at annual shareholder meetings in opposition to company backed nominees. In other words, a proxy fight. “Will he run a proxy? Probably,” Hastings told the WSJ. “Almost always he runs a proxy battle.”
Among his showbiz targets ?and he crosses over many industries ?Icahn installed several dissident directors on Blockbuster’s board and eventually pushed CEO John Antioco to resign. Blockbuster later filed for bankruptcy.
Icahn also acquired big stakes and applied pressure on Time Warner and Lionsgate but ultimately backed down from a proxy battle with both.
Netflix shareholder meetings are in June.