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Icahn wants Yahoo's board fired

June 04, 2008|From the Associated Press

Outraged by new details about Yahoo Inc.'s efforts to complicate Microsoft Corp.'s takeover bid, activist investor Carl Icahn says he believes Yahoo's board will have to be fired to lure Microsoft back to the bargaining table.

Icahn said in a Tuesday interview with the Wall Street Journal that Microsoft was unlikely to renew its courtship as long as Yahoo Chief Executive Jerry Yang and the company's eight other directors remain on the job.

"I'm very cynical about many of the boards and CEOs in this country, but even I am amazed at the lengths that Jerry Yang and the board went to entrench themselves in this situation," Icahn told the Journal.

Icahn filed plans nearly three weeks ago to lead a shareholder revolt against Yahoo's board, which includes Yang, who co-founded the Internet pioneer 14 years ago.

Yahoo on Tuesday set the date for its showdown with Icahn by scheduling its annual shareholder meeting for Aug. 1 in San Jose. It has already delayed the meeting twice since the Microsoft saga began.

Until Tuesday, Icahn had been holding out hope that Yahoo's board would avert a shareholder mutiny by renewing talks to sell the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company to Microsoft. The software maker withdrew an oral offer of $47.5 billion, or $33 a share, a month ago after Yang sought $37 a share, or about $52 billion.

But Icahn told the Journal he had concluded that Yang and Yahoo's board had antagonized Microsoft too much to get a deal done.

Icahn, who has spent more than $1 billion to acquire a 4.3% stake in Yahoo, indicated he would give further details on his campaign to overthrow the board in the next day or so.

In a statement, Yahoo said its board had been "crystal clear" about its willingness to explore any Microsoft proposal that "was in the best interests of its shareholders."

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