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July 21, 2008

Yahoo! and Icahn Settle Proxy Fight, Questions Linger

Carl Icahn has settled his proxy fight with the Yahoo! board.  The settlement calls for the board to expand from nine to eleven members, and Icahn to get three seats.  Eight of the existing nine members will run for re-election with Icahn voting his shares for their retention.  The proxy fight may have turned in Yahoo!'s favor when institutional investor Legg Mason decided to vote for the current board.  The fear was that absent an iffy sale to Microsoft, there was no plan B for running the company.  Even if the search part of Yahoo! was sold off, what would happen to the rest of the company? 

Ending the proxy fight solves one problem, but it doesn't answer others.  Microsoft has said that it couldn't cut a deal with the current board in place.  Does a three seat Icahn led faction change anything?  Has Steve Ballmer locked himself into a position on this?  And, absent a sale, how will Yahoo! actually come up with a plan to enhance shareholder value?  Icahn and Jerry Yang are not exactly best buddies, so managing the company with the new board structure should be endlessly entertaining for the rest of us.  Then there is Google.  Yahoo! stands to make money from their collaboration in ad sales on Yahoo! properties, though Google missed its analyst targets for financials in the last reporting period.  Will that affect any scrutiny by the DOJ and Congress?  Stay tuned for developments. [MG]

July 21, 2008 | Permalink

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