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Netflix CEO Says Rental Service Not For Sale

17 Nov, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings said he is not interested in selling the subscription video-on-demand and by-mail disc rental pioneer.

Hastings, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal Nov. 16, sought to rebuff earlier comments by activist investor Carl Icahn, who believes Netflix is undervalued and should be sold. Icahn made the remark after acquiring nearly 10% of the rental service.

“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 Journal.

The CEO was in New York this week meeting with Icahn regarding his stock purchase and intentions for Netflix.

The SVOD service has been the subject of acquisition scuttlebutt for years, including periodic links with Microsoft, Amazon and Apple, among others.

After Icahn’s Oct. 31 stock purchase, Netflix’s board adopted a shareholder rights plan (also called a “poison pill” amendment) that automatically kicks in when an investor or investor group seeks to acquire more than 10% of the company. Additional Netflix stock would cost $350 for one-thousandth of a share.

Icahn has called the shareholder rights plan a sign of poor corporate governance.

Hastings told the Journal he expects Icahn to initiate a proxy battle to assume control of Netflix’s board. Again, the SVOD service has insulated itself in part by staggering elections of board members.

“Almost always he runs a proxy battle,” Hastings said.

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