Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Yahoo! 'Plan B' Sign-Up Sheet





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.

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43 comments:

David Neubert said...

I'll email you the number of shares I own but I wrote my endorsement in my blog here. http://davidneubert.com/2007/01/09/yahoo-yhoo-individual-activist-may-shake-up-yahoo.aspx

Anonymous said...

john henderson said, same message as david neubert. I have called Yahoo and spoken to Matt Rhodes who is head of investor relations. I told him I was tired not making any money on this stock and being down in value for way too long.

Eric Jackson said...

Thanks, David, for the very kind words. Also, I appreciated you reaction to the 7 points.

John: Thanks also for your comments.

Someone just anonymously emailed me with support of another 1000 shares. With that, we're up to about $1MM in committed shares.

Anonymous said...

I have 300 shares count me in.

Rog said...

I owe 1,850 share of Yahoo and I will vote them in full support of Plan B.

Eric Jackson said...

Thanks, Rog and Anon.

Rabbi Bruce said...

I own 250 shares (and may buy more) and sign on to Plan B.

Bruce

Anonymous said...

approx. 18,000 shares committed here. You may need to revise the plan a bit, but I'm willing to be a force behind this if it will garner change, even if not 100% of the plan b components are tenable.

Eric Jackson said...

Thanks, Anon. For our largest commitment to date.

See my latest posting with a poll for 10 possible options (you can vote for as many options as you wish). We've had more than 10 suggested actions, but Vizu limits me to 10. I'll post additional comments/suggestions in a new poll in the coming days.

Thanks again.

Eric

Eric Jackson said...

Thanks also to Bruce. All commitments, large and small, are welcome and necessary.

Anonymous said...

100 shares committed to improving the performance of this company

Anonymous said...

I own 2900 shares and have been in the house of pain since July. Count me in.
I believe in Yahoo the company- it's finance page is simply the best, but Yahoo the management...

Eric Jackson said...

Thanks, Anon. That's a big stake. Appreciate it.

Steph said...

700 shares to commit here.

Anonymous said...

As an ex-Yahoo, I know that both Terry (CEO) and Zod (CTO) are disengaged from the priorities of the company and are in desperate need of replacement. Getting fresh blood in those positions can only help re-energize the company and get it back into a technical and marketing leadership role.

I hope you can use the 5100 shares I'm pledging to Plan B.

Anonymous said...

I have 2,000 shares that I would be happy to pledge for your courageous effort! Can the retail stockholder still make a difference...we'll find out!

Eric Jackson said...

Thanks Steph and to the 2 Anons. We certainly can use this support. We're on our way to our goal of 133MM shares. So far, we're at 70K. Although it's a daunting goal, I believe we'll get there. Please help spread the word. Thx.

Jeb said...

I own 60 shares. I recently bought in after the big dip from the delay of Project Panama. I've done fairly well so far, but feel that if some of your proposals are enacted, everybody would be doing very well. I'll post about this in my blog a little later. Great idea!

Eric Jackson said...

Thanks, Jeb. Our group is up 6.16% since starting our advocacy last week. Cheers, Eric

Anonymous said...

you have my support...

7000 shares

sprince33@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

I'm in with 12K shares.

Eric Jackson said...

Thanks, Anon!

Anonymous said...

Although a small shareholder, I really like the direction Plan B is going and I will support the plan with my 11 shares.

Anonymous said...

I support what you are doing to enhance the valuation of Yahoo!. As a shareholder, I pledge my 14,000 shares to your efforts.

C.Y.

Eric Jackson said...

CY and Anon: Thank you both! Every shareholder counts large and small. Thank you both for getting involved and making a difference. Cheers, Eric

Anonymous said...

As a longtime Yahoo! user it's frustrating to see how they're lagging behind in almost everything they do. I've only got 140 shares, but the sooner something changes at Yahoo! the better.

Ryan Jauregui said...

I have 100 shares, I'm in.

Ajay Kumar said...

I own 130 shares of Yahoo and I am 100% in support of your efforts.

wolnowr said...

I support your efforts. I was considering selling my 800 shares but now have new reasons to hope for change in the company. May even buy more if some of the Plan B proposals are adopted. All the best!

Stephen said...

Although i do not agree 100% of your plan, i do think Terry is taking more than he deserve. i support you with my 2,000 shares

Douglas Danger Powers, MD. said...

I think your ideas, with a little modification, are excellent, and I intend to pledge every one of my one million shares!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for giving the little guy a voice. I've only got 300 shares, but I'm all in.
Mike B.

Eric Jackson said...

Anon, Ryan, Ajay, Wolnowr, Stephen, and Anon: Thanks for all the support.

Douglas: What can I say? Thank you. That is a huge commitment and we appreciate your belief in what we're doing.

We won't let any of Yahoo!'s shareholders down. It was encouraging to see the stock's announcement to our finalized plan yesterday.

Best wishes,

Eric

Anonymous said...

I love it! I'm an ex-Yahoo as well. I like plan B, except for having Decker replace Semel. Decker is talented, but is more a numbers geek than a tech visionary. Yahoo desperately needs new blood at the top.

I have 1553 shares. I am sick to death of losing money on this stock. I bought it when I left Yhoo 3 years ago, knowing that they were well positioned to profit from Internet growth. They have become bureaucratic, risk-averse and calcified. Semel injected a needed dose of discipline when he arrived in 2001. The irony was that, while Yahoo needed that discipline at the time, the same discipline squeezed the creative juices out of the company. Management wouldn't approve anything that didn't have an instant and large financial return. There was no vision. Many talented engineers, product people and creative types chafed under the restrictions and left for greener pastures in the valley.

In my opinion, Yahoo is started to look like AOL -- old, tired and so very 2003.

charvey

Eric Jackson said...

Charvey: Thanks. I think your reference to Decker is from the earlier version of Plan B. I'll update this post so that it links to the now finalized version. Thanks for your thoughts and support. Eric

Rich said...

Add 610 more shares to your pledge tally.

Eric Jackson said...

Rich: Thank you. Really appreciate your support. Eric

Ryan Jauregui said...

I just bought 163 more shares the other day, add those to your list.

Eric Jackson said...

You got it, Ryan. Thank you!

Vincent said...

119 shares for me and ready for Plan B. I will add more soon

Eric Jackson said...

Merci, Vincent.

Francois Goube said...

Let's start a new era for Yahoo!

10 more for your plan B from another frog!

Eric Jackson said...

Merci bien, Francois.