Tuesday, August 14, 2007

NY Times: Measuring Shareholder Anger at Yahoo

From the Bits section of the NY Times:

August 13, 2007, 6:33 pm

By Miguel Helft

Tags: , ,

The recent history of Yahoo’s troubles is well-known: the company lost the search race to Google; it missed out on key trends — social networking, for instance — and potential acquisitions — Facebook, most notably; its performance disappointed; some shareholders grew restless and focused their anger on a board that gave former CEO Terry Semel one of the richest pay packages in Corporate America.

But what percentage of shareholders were restless? Now we know. Yahoo, in its latest quarterly report, shows that the protest was concentrated on three directors–Arthur Kern, Roy Bostock and Ron Burkle–who served on the company’s compensation committee, in accordance with the recommendation of three Wall Street advisory firms. Of the 1.125 billion shares outstanding, 35 percent voted against, the reelection of Mr. Burkle, 35 percent against Mr. Kern, and 34 percent against Mr. Bostock.

Until now, all we knew was that nearly a third of votes were withheld against one or more directors.

Interestingly, the filing also shows that between 6 percent and 8 percent of shareholders voted against the reelection of Yahoo’s other directors as well, including chairman Terry Semel, who left the CEO post shortly after the mid-June shareholder meeting, and his replacement, co-founder Jerry Yang.

Eric Jackson, a shareholder activist who ran a campaign against Yahoo’s board, analyzes the vote, and compares it with a year earlier, when support for the board was virtually unanimous. Mr. Jackson concludes that “further changes at the board-level should be followed through on by Yahoo!’s new team to respond to the voices of discontent from the shareholders.”

Sphere: Related Content