Icahn moves to replace Yahoo board, restart Microsoft talks
By The Manila Times
Icahn said in an open letter that Yahoo "completely botched" merger talks with Microsoft and that he is amassing Yahoo stock to oust the board of directors at an annual shareholders meeting on July 3.
"Unfortunately, your letter reflects a significant misunderstanding of the facts about the Microsoft proposal and the diligence with which our board evaluated and responded to that proposal," Yahoo board chairman Roy Bostock wrote in an open response to Icahn.
"We do not believe it is in the best interests of Yahoo stockholders to allow you and your hand-picked nominees to take control of Yahoo for the express purpose of trying to force a sale of Yahoo to a formerly interested buyer who has publicly stated that they have moved on."
Bostock said board members met more than 20 times with Microsoft after the US software giant offered to buy Yahoo for 44.6 billion dollars in stock and cash on January 31.
"Throughout this process our board kept an open mind and an open ear," Bostock wrote.
Icahn said in his letter that he had acquired 59 million shares of Yahoo -- around four percent of its capital -- and had formed a 10-person slate which will stand for election against the current board.
"It is unconscionable that you have not allowed your shareholders to choose to accept an offer that represented a 72 percent premium over Yahoo's closing price of 19.18 dollars on the day before the initial Microsoft offer," Icahn wrote.
He added that he is seeking antitrust clearance to buy as much as 2.5 billion dollars' worth of Yahoo shares, which would give him seven percent of the company.
"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." [...]
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With Icahn joining in the poker table, Yahoo appeared pushed at the loosing end. With Yahoo's remaining token chips against Icahn's abundant chips and proven playing skills, in the long run in this game, he who has much more resources has the advantage of outlasting the others. But in gambling there is a thing called luck and Yahoo could only hope for it to be on their side.
If Microsoft succeeds in its attempt to absorb Yahoo, Bill could inch more closer to the main knobs of the "Internet's Gates". With Microsoft's not-so-impressive track record concerning antitrust, what industry player would not think of the possibilities that could adversely threaten their existence? With Microsoft running most of the world's home and office computers and Microsoft-Yahoo running a significant portion of the internet, users will be assured of a smooth-sailing and faster interconnection. But what about end-user privacy concerns and state-sponsored information interceptions? That too will probably be much more smooth and easy.