Netflix CEO Pay Doubled Despite Challenge From Icahn

  @DavidZie on December 31 2012 2:41 PM
Netflix
Netflix shares rose slightly after the company adopted a “poison pill” to battle activist investor Carl Icahn. Reuters

Directors of entertainment provider Netflix Inc. doubled CEO Reed Hastings's salary to $4 million next year, despite a management challenge from Carl Icahn.

Hastings, 51, will receive $2 million in salary plus stock options valued at $2 million, the Los Gatos, Calif.-based company advised the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. 

 

In 2012, his salary was $500,000 with an additional $1.5 million in stock options. The board of directors lowered his stock options from $3 million in 2011, after Netflix announced and then withdrew a plan to split in half.

 

The SEC filing had no explanation for the salary boost.

 

In late October, Icahn, 76, the New York activist investor who caused the split of the old Motorola and has launched forays against dozens of companies including Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) and Mentor Graphics (NASDAQ:MENT), announced he'd acquired slightly under 10 percent of Netflix, which he said was “undervalued.”

 

Icahn has spent nearly $325 million on Netflix shares and options. Since he started buying into the company in late September, shares have gained 65 percent.

 

Icahn had no comment on the Hastings salary boost on Monday. He previously said he hoped the company could attract the attention of a bigger buyer.

 

Last week, Netflix's streaming video service crashed when traffic soared. On Monday, Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN), which provides the technical backbone, apologized, adding, “We know how critical our services are to our customers' business.”

 

Hastings, also a director of Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), resigned as a director of Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT), where he'd been the lead independent director since 2010, after joining the board in 2006. He said then he wanted to devote more time to his own company.

 

Netflix shares rose $3.21 to $92.54 in late trading, valuing the entire company at $5.13 billion. They've gained 33 percent in 2012.

 

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