Yahoo, Investors Face Off Today
By: David Utter
Yahoo's annual meeting takes place amid the fallout of a failed takeover bid by Microsoft, a failed proxy fight for control of the company by Carl Icahn, and plenty of shareholders wondering why they should be happy about missing out on a rich payday.
Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang and the Yahoo board will have a few new faces in place once business gets back to normal after the weekend. One of those new faces, that of corporate raider Icahn, won't be at today's annual meeting.
"The proxy fight is over and it will not do shareholders or Yahoo any good to have the annual meeting turn into a media event for no purpose," he said on the Icahn Report blog. "
"An important part of my compromise with Yahoo is that the board in the settlement agreement has agreed 'that any meaningful transaction, including the strategy in dealing with that transaction, will be fully discussed with the entire board before any final decision is made'," he continued.
Bloomberg noted shares of Yahoo stock have dropped by 29 percent since Yang took over the CEO post from Terry Semel in June 2007. Yahoo shareholders who thought they saw an exit with Microsoft's end of January $44.6 billion takeover try watched that disintegrate over the months that followed.
"In todays corporate governance system where large mutual funds control so much of the stock, it is extremely difficult to oust an entire board, no matter how strongly a large number of shareholders feel about the boards previous actions," Icahn said of his attempt at taking charge of Yahoo.
"Realizing I could not gain control, I saw no point in spending the final two weeks in a debilitating fight," he continued. Microsoft, the likely buyer for Yahoo in an Icahn-controlled scenario, expressed mild interest in renewing its takeover try, but said it could not work with the current Yahoo board in doing so.
Should Yahoo shares continue to disappoint as they have over the past 13 months, the whole scenario with Microsoft could play out again. The companies held multiple little talks over the past couple of years, but like the latest series nothing groundbreaking ever emerged from them.
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About the Author:
David Utter is a staff writer for InternetFinancialNews and WebProNews covering technology and business.
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