Posted June 5, 2008 4:58 pm by with 1 comment

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As if things aren’t already nasty enough for Yahoo these days, this week, lawsuits and allegations abound that Yahoo’s spurning of Microsoft’s offer earlier this year was motivated by personal biases. Yahoo has responded to the most vocal (and likely most powerful) of their detractors, Carl Icahn, in a letter by Chairman Roy Bostock.

Icahn, a large shareholder of Yahoo, has already already attempted to file a proxy slate to replace the whole board, although his efforts have been rebuffed thus far.

Yahoo continues to resist Icahn’s hostile advances this week. Bostock begins the letter by stating that the board takes issue with Icahn’s June 4 letter and accusations: “Your letter seriously misrepresents and manipulates the facts regarding the recent events pertaining to Microsoft and Yahoo!” (It’s nice to have a company name with an exclamation point; it makes your points more emphatic without the tackiness of all caps 😉 .)

Icahn characterized an “employee retention plan” as an employee walkout. Bostock says the plan was designed to protect employees who were fired without cause after a merger. He says the plan was also fully disclosed at the time of adoption, making it hardly a secret or a surprise now.

Bostock defends Yahoo’s actions, including the two decisions not to sell to Microsoft, saying that the board had only the best interests of the shareholders in mind.

The letter concludes with a final barb at Icahn:

Conspicuously absent from your letter is any credible plan for Yahoo! other than a repetition of your insistence that the Company should sell itself to Microsoft. Indeed, your stated view that “the only way to salvage Yahoo! in the long if not short run is to merge with Microsoft” demonstrates that you have no other plan and causes one to wonder what exactly would happen to our Company if you and your nominees were to take control of Yahoo!.

Well, no, it doesn’t cause one to wonder, since as Bostock said, Icahn obviously wants Yahoo to sell to Microsoft.

Will Icahn be able to make any progress this time around or will he only succeed in upsetting the Yahoo Board (mission accomplished there!)?

  • I continue to maintain that there is a lot more than meets the eye in this saga. In the next few months the muddied waters will become clearer and some spectacular shows will appear in the IT world.