Company quarterly conference calls are usually boring affairs. It is the rare call indeed where you get something like the infamous moment when Enron’s Jeffrey Skilling called a questioner an “asshole”. Rarer still is when a billionaire major shareholder calls in and mud wrestles with the CEO in full public view.
Well, that is what happened on Wednesday of this week. Financier Carl Icahn dialed into the Blockbuster quarterly conference call in an attempt to get Blockbuster CEO John Antioco to agree with some his proposed terms about board structure. Keep in mind that Icahn is in the middle of a tussle over the company’s direction, and he wants to be elected to Blockbuster’s board at next week’s annual meeting.
While John Antioco is a apparently a fairly mellow fellow, the telephone tussle with Icahn was six minutes long, and it got better as it went on, with each man interrupting the other and accusing one another of playing fast and loose with the facts. Finally, however, Antioco’s conference call operator unceremoniously hung up on the billionaire Icahn, telling him that his question (an allegation that Blockbuster had ignored LBO offers at higher prices) was inappropriate.
You can listen to the six-minute segment here (in Windows media format).
[Update] As a few people have requested, here it is in mp3 format.