updated 12:05 pm EDT, Mon August 4, 2008
Yahoo Board Survives Vote
Yahoo investors at the company's shareholders meeting have voted to keep executives suggested through a last-minute deal with activist investor Carl Icahn. The vote keeps nearly all of the existing leaders of the company and showed an unexpected level of confidence in particularly vocal opponents of Microsoft's initial takeover bid for Yahoo, including company CEO Jerry Yang and chairman Roy Bostock, who respectively earned 85.4 and 79.5 percent votes in favor of their remaining in place.
Terms of the deal will see Icahn join the board along with two of his nominees, expanding the board slightly and giving him access to more information about the company as well as influence over its future.
The safety of existing officials' positions will let the company refocus on building the company's success, according to Bostock. In the past, Bostock and Yang suggested that Microsoft's takeover attempt and later Icahn's proxy takeover bid were distractions that forced executives to spend their time in unsuccessful negotations with the Windows Live provider rather than improving Yahoo.
The successful vote effectively silences near-term expectations of any complete or partial Microsoft buyout. The Redmond, Washington-based company has said it would refuse to pursue any more negotiations with Yahoo as long as its current executives are in place, claiming that it can't make any kind of reasonable deal; Yahoo has itself maintained that Microsoft has repeatedly undervalued the company and that its existing leaders would be willing to entertain a deal at the right value.
Until breaking off negotiations, Microsoft had intended a Yahoo deal as a quick path to competing against Google, which has a dominant lead in search and web ad market share and is also threatening both Office and Windows Live Office with its web-based production apps.