updated 12:25 pm EDT, Fri July 18, 2008
Legg Mason backs Yahoo
One of Yahoo's largest shareholders has declared its support for existing management, according to an announcement. Legg Mason Capital Management, which owns 60.7 million shares (4.4 percent) of Yahoo stock, has declared its intentions to vote in favor of Yahoo's current bosses at next month's critical shareholder meeting. "We believe the current Board acted with care and diligence when evaluating Microsoft's [acquisition] offers," reads a statement from Legg Mason chairman Bill Miller.
Another major investor, Carl Icahn, has threatened to fight a proxy war to install a new board of directors, one more favorable to an acquisition by Microsoft, or at least some form of cooperative agreement. Icahn has argued that a deal is necessary to strengthen Yahoo profits, as the company's search and advertising services are duplicated in many cases by the much larger Google.
Legg Mason says it is willing to accept a new board of directors, so long as the arrangement is negotiated. "We would prefer that the company [Yahoo] and Mr. Icahn reach a mutual agreement on the composition of the Board and end this disruptive proxy contest," the statement notes.