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Yahoo! vs Icahn, Yahoo! blinks first

Another proxy emerges and director quits

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Yahoo! has delayed its general meeting scheduled for 3 July and is facing another attack on its board. No new date has been set, but the meeting is expected to be held towards the end of July.

Carl Icahn has already proposed ten directors to replace the current board. Now another rebel is proposing a slate of nine directors to the board, and two Yahoo! shareholders have nominated themselves for election.

Yahoo! has also informed the Securities and Exchange Commission that Edward Kozel has resigned from the board of directors in order to spend more time with his family. Apparently he really does wish to spend more time with his family and "focus on personal matters, including moving his family to Europe this summer". Yahoo! is reducing the size of the board from ten seats to nine seats as a result.

Icahn's attempted takeover of Yahoo! might not be popular with technologists but it is winning over the markets - lots of short-term investors are now buying up Yahoo! shares in the hope the deal does go through.

Opponents of the takeover can only hope that Jerry Yang and the other Yahoos can use the extra time before the meeting to pull together some kind of a deal with Microsoft. The two companies have confirmed that they are in talks about some kind of partnership but not a full takeover. Speculation is that this will involve some kind of merging of their search business. If Yang can present such a deal to the shareholders meeting he may have some chance of fending off Icahn.

Yahoo!'s management is still urging shareholders to ignore Icahn, the other un-named proxy and the two shareholders, and vote in support of the existing board which decided against being bought by Microsoft.

Ballmer's contribution today, fresh from dodging eggs in Hungary, was to say the Yahoo! takeover was "never strategic".

Ballmer said that "Yahoo was never the strategy we were pursuing", according to Reuters. "We will spend money on some acquisitions," he said. "You can do a whole lot of things with 50 billion dollars."

How the hell you can try and spend $50bn on something which is outwith your company's strategy the monkey dance man did not make clear. ®

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