Monday, June 18, 2007

CII Alert: Activist Yahoo! Shareowner's Internet Efforts Help Produce Results in Vote-No Campaign

From June 15th's Council of Institutional Investors' Alert by Rosemary Lally:

Preliminary voting results from Yahoo!'s June 12 annual meeting indicate that individual shareowner activist Eric Jackson, who has been using the Internet to rally support for his "Plan B" to improve the company's performance, helped convince a significant number of shareowners to vote against Yahoo! directors. The preliminary tally shows that some of the 10 directors up for re-election received the support of just 66 percent of the votes. (The exact level of support for each director will not be available until the company releases its 10Q.) Yahoo! adopted majority voting for director elections last year. Institutional Shareholder Services, Glass Lewis and Proxy Governance all recommended that shareowners vote against the three directors up for re-election who serve on the company's compensation committee because they approved what the proxy advisory services consider excessive executive compensation.

Jackson, who owns just 100 shares of Yahoo! stock himself, managed to rally the support of shareowners representing 2 million shares to sign on to his "Plan B" strategy for turning around the company. Among other things, the plan recommends taking the following actions:

  • Replacing Chairman and CEO Terry Semel;
  • Replacing seven of the 10 directors;
  • Introducing a 'pay for performance' plan for management and;
  • Removing the company's antitakeover provisions.

Jackson promoted this plan on the Internet and used emerging technologies like blogs, videos and wikis to formulate and sell his strategy for a Yahoo! rebound.

On a large scale, Jackson says he thinks the voting results for the Yahoo! director election bode well for activist individuals. "My hope is that this is a sign of things to come for individual investors." In terms of his impact on the company, Jackson believes the tally prompted CEO Semel to suggest to him after the annual meeting that they have "a further constructive and private dialogue."

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Anonymous said...

Congrats on your successes! Another example of a social media strategy getting results.