Now it’s happening:
Carl Icahn, the enigmatic billionaire activist investor, is considering whether to mount a proxy fight to take control of board seats at Yahoo, according to people who have spoken with Icahn. Icahn himself has declined to comment.
Late last week, Icahn built a significant position in Yahoo that may be as much as 50 million shares worth more than $1.2 billion. While other activist investors had considered mounting a fight to replace all of Yahoo’s board, they stood down from that effort when they were unable to confirm that Microsoft would support them.
Full story here.
In the meantime every analyst on Wall Street will be bought lunch, dinner, and dessert, then a few independent experts on corporate governance and proxy battles will make a recommendation to all those involved.
And, in my eyes, there is very little doubt that Icahn will prevail.
Not only that but, given the way Yahoo is trending (particularly before the announcement of Microsoft’s takeover bid reinvigorated the price per share), the best PR agency in the world will have a hard time making a convincing argument that Jerry Yang is fit to lead the company’s turnaround.
This can be compared to what happened a few years ago at Disney, when it came to Michael Eisner’s role as CEO 45% of shareholders voted ‘no confidence’, though they were the minority it was certainly enough to justify his ousting months later.
D-Day for Jerry Yang is July 3rd, the date of the next Yahoo shareholder meeting, which was previously scheduled for June 10th before being postponed. Note: June 10th is just a few days after the actual D-Day from the WWII invasion of Normandy by the Armed Forces of the United States.
Should be exciting.