Here’s an interesting twist in the Yahoo/Microsoft/Icahn love triangle–Carl Icahn and Yahoo have just kissed and made-up.
Under a newly announced settlement, Carl Icahn and two of his cohorts will be elected to Yahoo’s board of directors.
Following the 2008 annual meeting, the Yahoo! Board will be expanded to 11 members. Carl Icahn will be appointed to the Board and the remaining two seats will be filled by the Board upon the recommendation of the Board’s Nominating and Governance Committee from a list of nine candidates recommended by Mr. Icahn, which includes the eight remaining members of the Icahn slate of nominees and Jonathan Miller, currently a partner in Velocity Interactive Group and former Chairman and CEO of AOL.
OK, so is Icahn still going to press Yahoo for a Microsoft sale? Well, there appears to be some conflicting positions.
Yahoo says (emphasis added)…
“This agreement will not only allow Yahoo! to put the distraction of the proxy contest behind us, it will allow the Company to continue pursuing its strategy of being the starting point for Internet users and a must buy for advertisers,” said Yahoo! Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Jerry Yang. “No other company in the Internet space has our unique combination of global brand, talented employees, innovative technologies and exceptional assets, attributes that will help us take advantage of the large and growing opportunity ahead of us. I look forward to working together with our new colleagues on the Board to make that happen.”
Everything from Yang screams "we’re not selling, we’re building." Meanwhile Carl Icahn clearly sees things differently…
“I am very pleased that this settlement will allow me to work in partnership with Yahoo!’s Board and management team to help the Company achieve its full potential. While I continue to believe that the sale of the whole Company or the sale of its Search business in the right transaction must be given full consideration, I share the view that Yahoo!’s valuable collection of assets positions it well to continue expanding its online leadership and enhancing returns to stockholders…"
He seems to still be gung-ho for a sale to Microsoft, and when you consider that his statement is included in an official Yahoo press release, it’s clear that Yahoo’s board feels the same way.
So, with the proxy battle behind them, will we finally see a Yahoo/Microsoft merger?