We have now finalized "Plan B," which is here, and the support and comments are flooding in.
Here's a sampling:
I am an exYahoo employee ... and current shareholder and over-the-top-pissed-off about what is going on there. My wife thinks I am obsessed but I find it terribly hard to sit by and watch the current regime at Yahoo destroy everything I and so many others worked so hard to build. I thank you for taking the lead on starting a shareholder revolt. I would like to contribute my services to you and do whatever I can to help. I still keep in touch with many exYahoos, many of whom are still shareholders, and am willing to coordinate with them as well.
From the press, there's been interest as well. One journalist and I had the following email exchange last night:
Q: Very ambitious and original!! What inspired you to do this?
A: I've been a fan of activist investing since Michael Price used his 6% stake in Chase Manhattan in 1995 to push the company to merge with Chemical Bank. It's a strategy that -- when used in the right context and with the right type of company -- can allow for a small shareholder to still have a large voice around the table. It can fail if you don't obtain a large enough position, as it did for Carl Ichan in Time Warner (although most of the things he and his group were pushing for seem very reasonable today compared to how they were portrayed in the press 18 months ago), or poor suggestions for increasing shareholder value. It's an approach that works best when you are a long-term investor in a company (as is the case here with Yahoo!) and you believe it's significantly undervalued -- not when you're looking for a quick flip.
Q: Is it possible to get retail investors to band together to purchase 10% of the stock?
A: It won't be easy. However, blogging makes it eminently more feasible today than at any other time in history. I think we'll be successful if enough people are intrigued with what we're proposing and they are as impatient for a change at Yahoo! as I am. When I started posting about Terry Semel last Fall, I was surprised at how strongly these seemed to register with people -- former employees, industry watchers, and just general Yahoo! users. The frustration was palpable. The sense was: this company has so many great assets... why can't they get it together?
Q: What is the advantage or reason to get involved with retail investors over institutional investors? - i.e. why would the average person (who does not spend so much of their time following the details of yhoo’s strategy) have a better opinion about what the company should do than both current management AND activist shareholders (who do have a lot more time to devote to the topic since they get paid to monitor the company…)?
A: We aren't stuck on our syndicate having to only contain retail investors. I'm sure that Legg Mason, Axa, Capital Research, Janus, Barclays Global, Fidelity, T. Rowe Price, State Street, Vanguard, and Goldman Sachs would all like to see better performance from their YHOO's stakes compared to their last 2 year's returns (down over 30% compared to +17% for the S&P and +150% for GOOG in that same time period). If they see value in what we're proposing, I'm sure they will support the cause. We're not here to do something for Yahoo!'s retail investors; we're seeking increased returns for all Yahoo! shareholders. Jerry Yang and David Filo (and all of Yahoo!'s management with stock options) will benefit just as much as those retail investors who join our group pushing for change.
Q: Why do this?
A: I'm tired of reading passive bloggers, commentators, and market watchers saying that 2007 should be a good year for Yahoo! because expectations are so low and Google can't keep growing at the pace it has over the last 3 years. I want to be part of the solution that helps this great company take steps to seize the mantle from Google -- not just receive a dead-cat bounce from market observers. It has an incredible history and an amazing stable of assets. The company also has some great people and directors. It just needs to take a few steps to unlock the tremendous potential that's there.
It should be fun to see how the community of interested shareholders respond. My sense is that they'll want to part of the solution. Stay tuned.
So, assuming this intrigues you, how can you get involved?
1. Sign up below in the comments section indicating how many YHOO shares you own. We just received a commitment for 1 million shares from one supporter (why do I feel like I'm working at a PBS telethon?). Feel free to be anonymous. We simply want to know that we can count on you voting your proxies when push comes to shove. If you don't want to comment publicly, email me at emj [at] jacksonleadership [dot] com.
2. Comment on our finalized "Plan B" (again which is here).
3. Inform relevant media contacts who might be interested in spreading the word.
4. Contact the following institutions who are fellow Yahoo! shareholders: Jerry Yang, David Filo, Legg Mason, Capital Research, Goldman Sachs Asset Mgmt., Janus, ClearBridge Advisors, Barclays Global, State Street, Vanguard, T. Rowe Price, Sands Capital, TIAA-CREF, Fidelity, Morgan Stanley, UBS Global Asset Mgtm, and Victory Capital. They collectively own over 44% of the company. We would certainly like to share our thoughts with them.
This is about doing what's in the best long-term interests of Yahoo! shareholders. Thanks again for your support.
Update: Feb. 26th -- As of this morning, our committed investors in Yahoo! have a collective ownership stake worth approximately $62 millioin -- and YHOO is up 16% since we began our activism last month. Sphere: Related Content