updated 05:15 pm EDT, Tue May 13, 2008
Icahn and Yahoo Deal
Activist investor Carl Icahn may use his clout to instigate a proxy battle that pushes Yahoo towards accepting a Microsoft takeover, CNBC says. Those talking to Icahn allegedly say he will push for the nomination of three or four candidates to Yahoo's board of directors that would favor a Microsoft buyout, giving just enough influence on the ten-person board to have it vote in favor of the acquisition that it has resisted in the past. Dissatisfaction with Yahoo's rejection of Microsoft offers could make this simple, the sources explain.
The maneuver is considered "risky" but is likely moving quickly, according to those reports. Icahn has reportedly been stockpiling shares to make his vote more influential in nominating board members, and may now have as many as 50 million shares to his name. That Yahoo's shares are still trading well above their pre-bid value despite Microsoft's withdrawal of its offer is said to hint at buying activity by Icahn.
If accurate, the investor would have no choice but to nominate his board before Thursday as Yahoo's annual shareholders' meeting approaches.
Icahn is considered one of the most powerful single financiers in the US and is known for using his influence on company stocks to make wide-ranging changes at companies he considers important. The investor recently obtained influence at Motorola after a prolonged campaign and is lending support to a proposed Blockbuster takeover of Circuit City. Both moves are considered attempts to improve results at significant but ailing US companies.