Remember all the drama between Carl Icahn and Yahoo last year? As a major shareholder, he lobbied for Yahoo to take Microsoft’s buyout offer (any offer!). And then there were some I’ll-replace-your-whole-board-of-directors threats, and some nuh uhs. And some I’ll-get-you-yet,-Yang!s and some “what-ever”s and some pbbbts and “You’re nuts”s. . . . Yeah, for a while there it was a little ugly. Eventually, Yahoo tried to placate Icahn with a luxurious spot on their board for him and two of his closest friends!
But it looks like even that wasn’t enough to keep Icahn happy for long. AllThingsD reports today that Carl Icahn has recently sold off a sixth of his shares in Yahoo at a significant loss—$125M. Although he retains his and his cronies’ seats on the board, and 63M shares (about 4.5% of the company), taking that kind of loss doesn’t look so good for Yahoo.
Icahn, of course, can argue the same line he’s held all along: that Yahoo should have removed the “poison pill” severance plan and taken Microsoft’s original deal instead of letting their stock prices fall and wimping out with this search deal with Microsoft. However, he did get at least one wish, in addition to his board seats: Jerry Yang is no longer Yahoo’s CEO.
In the SEC filing, Icahn says that he’s just balancing his portfolio, and he’s still bullish on Yahoo, its CEO and its future (including the MSFT deal). (Carol Bartz, however, doesn’t return the compliment: in a recent Forbes piece, she said, “Icahn is just another shareholder. What’s he going to do, fire me?”)
What do you think? Is Icahn preparing to cut and run? Punishing Yahoo for not obeying (pretty hard lesson to inflict on himself!)?