Wednesday, April 02, 2008

IR Magazine: Motorola investors victorious

From IR Magazine:

Apr 02, 2008

Activists trigger company split

ILLINOIS -- After seeking a more independently led mobile division for nearly a year, activist shareholders have finally succeeded: Motorola will split off its mobile devices group.

Billionaire Carl Icahn has been demanding company reform since his proxy battle for a seat on the board was defeated last year. But Motorola’s second-largest shareholder has not been the only catalyst for the recently planned break-up.

Smaller activist investors have also pressured the company. Eric Jackson of Ironfire Capital, an activist hedge fund, has demanded change since last summer through his blog ‘Plan B for Motorola’. Its following of 600,000 pledged shares has seen some demands realized.

‘One of the Plan B criticisms was that Motorola had not hired a head for the mobile devices group, an omission the company remedied a week after the plan first came out,’ Jackson says. But Motorola’s CEO Greg Brown got rid of the new position earlier this year when he replaced Ed Zander, whose ousting was also proposed in Plan B.

Motorola has not introduced new members to the bored or outlined a long-term vision and strategy for the company, two issues dear to Plan B’s heart. But Jackson thinks it is very likely Icahn will get four seats on the board this year due to continued poor performance and decreased confidence in company management.

By Taylor Swinney

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