Just what Yahoo needs: more controversy

August 5, 2008

chad.jpgHey, did someone mention hanging chads?

Not yet, but one of Yahoo Inc’s largest and most critical shareholders, Capital Research Global Investors, has asked for a probe of last week’s shareholder vote, which was widely seen as a pat on the back for Chief Executive Jerry Yang.

Yang, who has been under pressure since Yahoo and Microsoft failed to agree to a deal, received 85.4 percent support in the results announced on Friday, with the remaining votes withheld in protest.

“I guess Jerry Yang didn’t come out of the meeting as unscathed as it seemed,” Canaccord Adams analyst Colin Gillis said of the uncertainty raised by calls for a recount.

The New York Times describes the situation this way: “The recount was requested because the total number of votes cast appeared too low, according to a person with knowledge of the matter who asked to remain anonymous because he was not authorized to discuss it. The person said that Capital Research believed that any undercounting of votes was most likely due to a technical mistake, not any tampering with the vote.”

Questions over the vote — first reported by the D: All Things Digital blog — is the last headache Yang/Yahoo need. Yang’s position seems secure, even if the final vote count changes somewhat. But the point is that the company is still trying to put the Microsoft mess behind it, and would clearly rather avoid any more bad publicity.

Keep an eye on:

  • Under a deal with the International Olympic Committee, YouTube will provide about three hours a day of exclusive content during the Games (WSJ.com)
  • Friendster, the social network site, got a new chief executive and $20 million in financing (Silicon Alley Insider)
  • Motorola tapped semiconductor industry executive Sanjay K. Jha to head its troubled mobile phone division and share chief executive duties for the entire company (NY Times)

(Photo: Reuters)

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