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Yahoo Board Gains Legg Mason's Support

By: David Utter

A major institutional investor opted to throw its backing behind the existing Yahoo board of directors, rather than an alternative slate promoted by activist investor Carl Icahn.

At least 4.4 percent of Yahoo will support Jerry Yang, Roy Bostock, and the current board at Yahoo. Investment firm Legg Mason said their roughly 60.7 million shares of the company will be voted in favor of keeping the existing players in place.

"We believe the current Board acted with care and diligence when evaluating Microsoft's offers," the company's chairman, Bill Miller, said in a statement. "We would prefer that the company and Mr. Icahn reach a mutual agreement on the composition of the Board and end this disruptive proxy contest."

Miller also commented on Microsoft's publicly stated position that it cannot negotiate with current Yahoo management. "If Microsoft wants to acquire Yahoo, it can make the terms and conditions of its offer public. If Yahoo shareholders support it, I am confident the Board of Yahoo will accept it."

The competitive search marketplace belongs to Google, so much that Yahoo entered a deal where it will place Google's advertising alongside Yahoo's search results.

Although that deal, currently the focus of federal and state antitrust scrutiny, stands to provide $800 million in annual revenue to Yahoo, investors responded with little enthusiasm about the arrangement. Shares of Yahoo continue to hover in the low $20 range, not far above where they were in January when Microsoft came calling with its acquisition bid.

View All Articles by David Utter

About the Author:
David Utter is a staff writer for InternetFinancialNews and WebProNews covering technology and business.

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