Like many shareholders of Yahoo — whose stock has climbed somewhat in the past few months, but is still well below where it was at the beginning of last year — blogger and management consultant Eric Jackson has been less than pleased with the company’s performance over the past year or so.
Although the Internet “portal” and search company has finally rolled out enhancements to its search-related advertising system, in an attempt to compete with the more successful platform run by you-know-who (hint: it starts with a G), Yahoo is still seen by many as lagging when it comes to its online strategy, or perhaps lacking one altogether. But rather than just complain, Mr. Jackson wrote a blog post back in January in which he tried to rally other disgruntled shareholders to his cause.
He described a refocused strategy for Yahoo that he called Plan B (including the removal of Terry Semel as CEO), and posted a video of himself outlining the idea to both his blog and to YouTube. As he put it in his original post
“Yahoo! is drifting; and its board and management have been too slow to act to this fundamental problem. As shareholders, we don’t have to sit by and watch this. Activist Investing has principally been the domain of hedge funds — well, no longer. With the help of the web, blogs, and wikis, I’m asking all current and future retail investors in Yahoo! to join me in pushing for a change.”
Eric’s campaign has been written about at TheStreet.com and the Internet Outsider blog, which belongs to former Wall Street technology analyst Henry Blodget, as well as Red Herring magazine.
And over the past couple of months, he has gotten a substantial amount of support from other Yahoo shareholders, including a couple of fairly large institutional shareholders whom he says would rather remain anonymous. In all, he says he has $29-million worth of Yahoo stock behind him, and recently filed the required papers to be nominated for the company’s board of directors.
“Some have told me I will need $200,000 to run a “proxy contest” to get elected to the Yahoo! board and — even with that — the odds are stacked against us, as most institutional shareholders tend to be “pro-management,” he says on his blog. “I don’t have $200,000, but I have a love for Yahoo!, the great employees who work there, and we have a plan that has merit — thanks to your input.”
Best of luck, Eric.