updated 03:55 pm EDT, Tue June 3, 2008
Icahn Hopes to Oust Y CEO
Activist investor Carl Icahn wants to replace Yahoo chief Jerry Yang in the event that a proxy battle for the control of the company's board is successful, says the Wall Street Journal. An interview with Icahn reveals that is goal is to remove Yang in the belief that the long-time Yahoo executive has no interest in selling his company to Microsoft regardless of the price. The sudden use of extremely expensive severance packages, as well as other moves, are evidence that Yang is determined to keep the company independent at all costs, Icahn argues.
"It's no longer a mystery to me why Microsoft's offer isn't around," he says in the interview. "[Yahoo board members] keep saying they're willing to negotiate and sell the company on the one hand, while at the same time they're completely sabotaging the process without telling anyone."
Icahn is also reportedly convinced that Yang and supporters are currently seen as barriers to any possible deal with Microsoft despite the latter's willingness to discuss a future transaction that most believe will see Yahoo sell off its search ad business and potentially other aspects of the company.
Yang and fellow board members have often said they would entertain a whole takeover attempt from Microsoft that "maximizes stockholder value," though recently unsealed court documents reveal that layoffs in the event of a Microsoft takeover could cost the company as much as $2.1 billion, adding to the $44.6 billion of the initial value of Microsoft's takeover. The company is also known to be working on an open-ended ad system that would allow Google and others to bid on search ads, further discouraging Microsoft from engaging in a buyout without making concessions.