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Carl Icahn goes on offense (again)

by on04 June 2008


Says Yahoo! CEO must go

Carl Icahn, the billionaire investor who owns Yahoo! shares and who has threatened a proxy fight if Yahoo’s Board of Directors does not arrive at an attractive sale price to Microsoft, is outraged (yet again) after reading newly released details of a shareholder lawsuit filed against Yahoo’s Board of Directors.

Yahoo’s lawyers had attempted to keep the content of the pleadings under wraps, but the judge ruled that the pleadings should be opened to interested parties in the litigation.  The lawsuit was amended by two Detroit retirement funds, who claim that a golden parachute employee severance program crafted by Yahoo CEO, Jerry Yang, will be triggered in the event of a change of control of Yahoo’s Board of Directors or in the event of a company sale, will make a Yahoo buyout difficult for any company.

The parachute will reportedly offer both full-time employees and executives severance pay ranging from four months to two years that goes into effect if an employee loses their job within two years after new ownership, is terminated without cause, or when the employee decides to leave for causes of “good reason.”

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Carl Icahn reportedly vented, “It’s no longer a mystery to me why Microsoft’s offer isn’t around. How can Yahoo 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 asserted that the unsealed shareholder suit will help his proxy fight to replace Yahoo’s Board of Directors, since he does not believe that Microsoft will make another buyout offer until the current Board members of Yahoo are gone, including Jerry Yang.

Yahoo responded to the news, stating, "Yahoo's Board of Directors, including Jerry Yang, has been crystal clear that it would consider any proposal by Microsoft that was in the best interests of its shareholders."

The Annual Shareholders Meeting of Yahoo has been reset for August 1st.

Last modified on 04 June 2008
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