Tuesday, June 17, 2008

New York Times: Yahoo Shareholder Proposes Compromise on Icahn Slate

June 17, 2008, 7:32 am
From DealBook.

Dissident Yahoo investor Eric Jackson urged fellow shareholders on Monday to vote for a board comprising five existing directors and four nominees from billionaire investor Carl C. Icahn’s slate.

Mr. Jackson, who leads a group of 146 investors holding 3.2 million Yahoo shares, said that, while he supported Mr. Icahn fully, he recognized that major shareholders may not. So he proposed a “third option” to create a new board that is more responsive to shareholders’ concerns.

Mr. Icahn, who owns more than 4 percent of Yahoo, launched a proxy battle in May to replace the Web pioneer’s board in the wake of Microsoft’s failed effort to acquire the company.
“Neither side running for election can guarantee that Microsoft will ever come back to the table with an offer for Yahoo,” Mr. Jackson said in a statement first published on TheStreet.com. “We must accept that reality and select a board to do the best job in the current situation (even as distasteful as the situation is).

“I want Icahn to win outright, but I am putting forward this “Third Option” because I fear several large shareholders will worry about the operational abilities of Icahn and his team.”
Mr. Jackson said his move was aimed at major Yahoo shareholders, including Capital Research, Legg Mason and Vanguard, as well as proxy advisory firms such as RiskMetrics and Glass Lewis.
Yahoo last week signed a Web search advertising deal with Google after talks with Microsoft broke down. The news sent Yahoo shares plunging more than 17 percent.
Mr. Icahn told Reuters Sunday that, while the Google deal is not the same as a buyout offer from Microsoft, it might have some merit. The billionaire investor declined to say if he would continue to press his proxy battle.

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