MediaFile

Yahoo settles with Icahn

icahn.jpgIs Yahoo letting the fox in the hen house or did activist investor Carl Icahn settle after eyeing weakness in his campaign?

Whatever the case, Yahoo’s settlement with Icahn, who had planned to run a rival board slate but now gets three board seats including himself and possibly former AOL Chief Jon Miller, averts what was expected to be a bloody battle on Aug. 1.

Miller, who was pushed out of the Time Warner division, was responsible for turning the subscriber-losing AOL into an Internet company after dismantling its walled garden.

Left unanswered: What will Microsoft say later today? Did Icahn get assurances from the software giant that it would be willing to negotiate any deal with Yahoo in the new board configuration?

(Reuters )

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Yahoo: who prints their email?

We can spend a lot of time analyzing how Yahoo really feels about Carl Icahn and his rival slate. But this, found at the top of Yahoo’s latest proxy filing and its homepage, says it all.

(Photo: Yahoo)

He said, she said

If you’re getting lost in all the nasty rhetoric between Yahoo, Microsoft and Carl Icahn, here’s our primer on what the fuss is all about.

They’re trading insults (again) after the latest deal talks broke down (again). Microsoft’s top lawyer is pressing the antitrust issue in Yahoo’s Google search partnership in Washington today, while Yahoo’s top lawyer accused Microsoft of trying to force a fire sale.

Don’t forget, this comes after Monday’s war of words over the latest Microsoft proposal to acquire Yahoo search, which was floated with the help of billionaire activist investor Icahn and rejected by Yahoo (again). Here’s what they’re saying about that deal:

Neither wind, rain nor a classroom will keep iPhone fans away

iphone.jpgHere we go…

Two days before the iPhone’s launch, fans around Asia are queuing up to buy Apple’s latest offering. They don’t seem to care that it’s raining or freezing cold or if lining up early means missing work or school.

The July 11 launch will be the first chance, after all,  for Asian consumers to own an iPhone.

“I’ve told my professor I was going to go buy an iPhone, and he gave me permission,” said Hiroyuki Sano, a 24-year-old graduate student who early on Tuesday arrived in rainy Tokyo from Nagoya to be first in line. Sano, speaking to Reuters, and incidentally wearing a T-shirt with an Apple logo, described his professor as an equally big Apple fan. “He sent me off cheerfully.”

Who will run Yahoo?

yahoo-sign.jpgWho’s going to run Yahoo?

There are myriad answers to that question, but AllThingsD suggests that Ross Levinsohn, the former head of News Corp’s Fox Interactive Media Group, and partner, former AOL Chief Jon Miller, are heavily mentioned as the kind who might get a crack at it.

Miller’s an interesting choice and one wonders if joining the company would push Yahoo closer to an AOL deal. Miller wasn’t immediately reachable on Monday night.

Meanwhile there’s no guarantee that Jerry Yang, who is still in charge, is going anywhere. In fact, on Monday, Yahoo itself worked to rally shareholder support in the face of a proxy battle with Carl Icahn, saying the his plan for the company’s future was “ill-defined”, and questioned whether Microsoft was ever serious about a full-scale merger.

XM and Sirius: Weren’t they merging or something?

xmsr.jpg Finally, some movement.

It seems that the head of U.S. Federal Communications Commission Kevin Martin will support Sirius Satellite Radio’s proposed purchase of rival XM Satellite Radio.

The Washington Post and others are reporting that Martin decided to support the deal after the companies agreed to concessions intended to prevent the new company from raising prices or stifling competition among radio makers.

A decision has been a long time coming. Seventeen months ago the two companies announced they would merge, bringing entertainers such as Oprah Winfrey and shock jock Howard Stern under the same banner. The Justice Department approved the deal in March, but the companies are still waiting for the FCC.

Icahn to Yahoo’s board: Shame on you

icahn2.jpg The heat is definitely on at Yahoo.

As though it weren’t under enough pressure, the board now has Carl Icahn warning them that they will be held personally liable for approving a controversial employee severance plan.

Oh, and shareholders suing the company now want a speedy trial related to failed merger talks between Yahoo and Microsoft, saying they would like to get to court before the company’s August 1 annual meeting.

Here’s the upshot of the fight over the severance plan: Shareholders suing the company argue that the board is free  to reorganize Yahoo’s work force as it sees fit without fear of triggering the severance benefits.

Icahn to Yahoo: We’ve lost faith

carl-icahn.jpgBillionaire investor Carl Icahn fired a salvo at Yahoo on Thursday morning, threatening a proxy fight unless Yahoo gets Microsoft back to the negotiating table.******In a letter to Yahoo Chairman Roy Bostock he said Yahoo’s board had acted “irrationally” in turning away an offer that amounted to a 72 percent premium and warned Yahoo not to announce any “strategic alternatives” (such as a deal with AOL or Google) without a shareholder vote.***

I am perplexed by the board’s actions. It is irresponsible to hide behind management’s more than overly optimistic financial forecasts. It is unconscionable that you have not allowed your shareholders to choose to accept an offer that represented a 72% premium over Yahoo’s closing price of $19.18 on the day before the initial Microsoft offer. I and many of your shareholders strongly believe that a combination between Yahoo and Microsoft would form a dynamic company and more importantly would be a force strong enough to compete with Google on the Internet.

***Icahn also disclosed he has purchased 59 million shares and has sought antitrust clearance from the FTC to acquire up to approximately $2.5 billion worth of Yahoo stock.******Microsoft has remained quiet so far. Wall Street Journal reported earlier that Icahn had been yet unable to lock in Microsoft’s support.******Also, despite having nominated a 10-member slate, which include Icahn, former Viacom chief Frank Biondi, Icahn Enterprise’s vice chairman Keith Meister, former New Line co-CEO Robert Shaye and corporate governance expert Lucian Bebchuk, he could yet settle for a smaller slate of Yahoo directors.******After spending a week telling the world how uninterested they are in Yahoo, Microsoft has remained quiet so far.******(Reuters)******Keep an eye on:***

    *** CBS to buy CNET Networks for $1.8 billion to boost its Web presence, and maybe laying to rest a CNET activist investor fight (Reuters)

    *** Ask.com to expand its vocabulary with plans to buy Lexico, owner of Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com (Reuters)

    ***

***(Picture: Reuters / Icahn at the Lazard presentation during the Time Warner battle.)

Icahn comes calling

icahn.jpgSomebody’s knocking on Yahoo’s door this week and it isn’t Steve Ballmer, yet. We wondered whether someone was building a position that helped keep Yahoo shares aloft since Microsoft pulled back from deal talks about a week and a half ago. 
    
It turns out that activist shareholder par excellence Carl Icahn has accumulated about 50 million shares in that time and will likely decide today whether to launch a proxy contest, before Yahoo’s deadline for board nominations expires on Thursday.
    
What may sway his decision is a sign from Microsoft that it is willing to come back to the table after Yahoo rebuffed a sweetened $47.5 billion offer. 
    
According to the Wall Street Journal, some other shareholder activists may be spoiling for a fight, including Firebrand Partners’ Scott Galloway, whose powers of persuasion won him a board seat at the New York Times earlier this year.
    
While all of this may not be good news for Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang, the action could well buoy shares in the meantime, at least until he reaches his own conclusions on how to proceed.
    
(Reuters) (WSJ)     

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* Barry Diller and John Malone make nice on spin-off plan for four of IAC’s business units. (Reuters)