Carl Icahn vs. Blockbuster: Boom! Zap! Pow!

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.


  1. Any way we could get this six minute clip in mp3 format?
    Windows Media Player on the Mac is in the stone ages.

  2. Sure, it’s up now as an update.

  3. Matthew Crouse says:

    Might be a story here — so I am posting it:
    While Carl Icahn is pressuring companies like KMG and BBI to deliver shareholder value, he has not been taking care of his own obligations to deliver shareholder value (in my opinion). Consider that he owns a controlling stake in KDUS, Cadus Corporation, which is selling at 20% discount to CASH. Icahn’s man is in charge of KDUS now, which has no operations and has not done anything for the past couple of years. Icahn even voted against a 2003 KDUS shareholder proposal to distribute excess cash and/or buyback stock. That’s fine if the company is going to use the cash to do something useful, but the cash has just been sitting there wasting away …
    Full Disclosure: I am shareholder of KDUS and find it sadly funny that Icahn is pushing other companies to create shareholder value when his own company doesn’t seem to be …

  4. chris ziemann says:

    Having worked for Blockbuster Video for the past 8 years with first a franchise store and then turning corporate in 01 I can honestly say that I had a major sigh of relief when John Antioco was renamed chairman of the board. Have all his campaigns & risks panned out as planned? Of course not! Id like to meet the person who has a perfect record & has been in the business as long as him. But the companies success with him at the helm speaks for itself. We all know that the entire business of renting from stores has seen its best days and is a dying breed but his experience and knowledge will allow blockbuster to live longer than any other chain.

  5. Ichan is a greedy man, but it may be true that BB needs to make some drastic changes if it wants to stay alive. It does not have to die off – there are other business models.