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Icahn loses bid for seat on Moto's board

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Despite his apparent failure to win a seat on the board of Motorola, billionaire investor Carl Icahn has declared victory.

Preliminary estimates of the votes cast by shareholders at the handset manufacturer's annual meeting in Chicago on Monday indicate that Icahn will not be elected to Motorola's board, with the current board members all retaining their seats.

Motorola said final results of the poll, which follows a bitter battle between the mobile phone maker and Icahn, will be available within three weeks.

In the last three months Icahn has been critical of Motorola management's ability to steer the handset manufacturer in the right direction and deliver real value for investors. At one point Icahn used a full-page ad in The Wall Street Journal to compare comments by Motorola chief executive Ed Zander to "something straight out of Alice in Wonderland".

Motorola had urged shareholders not to vote for the investor, saying he was already on too many boards and lacked knowledge of the mobile phone industry.

Icahn reportedly said at the annual meeting that irrespective of the outcome of the poll he had won because "this company has gotten the message".

The financier has taken roughly a three per cent stake in Motorola since he revealed plans in late January to seek a board seat. Despite seemingly losing his battle to get on the board Icahn said he had no plans to sell his shares.

The show of support for the board from Motorola's shareholders comes after a miserable few months for the world's second biggest handset manufacturer. It posted losses of $181m for the first quarter of this year thanks in large part to its underperforming handset division.

The mobile phone maker shipped just 45.4 million devices during the period, down from 65.7 million in the previous quarter. ENN reported last month that Motorola's share of the global handset market had dropped from 22 per cent to 18 per cent.

Zander told reporters after the meeting that Motorola was committed to bringing the handset division back to profitability. "We remain steadfast in our commitment to continue building value for all of our stockholders," he said.

He went on to mention that Motorola would unveil new mobile devices next Tuesday based on 3G and Java technologies in a bid to turn the handset division's fortunes around. Motorola had blamed a lack of 3G handsets for its poor sales performance.

Copyright © 2007, ENN

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