Microsoft may have walked away from the table in negotiations with Yahoo for a takeover deal, but just because they’ve pulled their bid, that doesn’t mean the takeover talks have ended. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn lauched a proxy war to unseat Yahoo’s current board of directors, and unveiled an alternate board of directors for the company. Such a move had been threatened by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer himself, but he ultimately abandoned that strategy. Will Icahn’s proxy war reignite Microsoft’s interest in a bid?
Amongst those Icahn nominated for Yahoo’s board of directors is Mark Cuban, who famously sold Broadcast.com to Yahoo and used the proceeds to buy the Dallas Mavericks.
Icahn was disappointed that Yahoo had turned down Microsoft’s offer, and so decided to take matters into his own hands. In a letter to Yahoo Chairman Roy Bostock, he said the board was “irresponsible” in rejecting the bid, and that the board was hiding “behind management’s more than overly optimistic financial forecasts.”
All current Yahoo board members are currently up for reelection. Icahn basically thinks they’re all irresponsible and nuts, and he’d like to get some more rational thinking folks in there instead.
The deadline for nominating a dissident slate of directors was Thursday. Besides Icahn himself, the lineup of dissident directors includes:
- Lucian A. Bebchuck – law professor at Harvard University.
- Frank J. Biondi Jr. – former CEO of Viacom and Universal Studios
- John H. Chapple – President of Hawkeye Investments LLC, a private equity firm.
- Mark Cuban – founder of broadcast.com & Dallas Maverick’s owner.
- Adam Dell – Managing General Partner of Impact Venture Partners, a venture capital firm focused on information technology investments.
- Keith A. Meister – an exec at Icahn Enterprises.
- Edward H. Meyer: CEO and Chief Investment Officer of Ocean Road Advisors, Inc., an investment management company.
- Brian S. Posner – CEO of equity firm ClearBridge Advisors
- Robert K. Shaye – chairman and CEO at New Line Cinema.
Will Icahn succeed in getting his nominees seated? Time will only tell, but one thing is for sure – we’re in for a bumpy ride!