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Yang To Yahoo Shareholders: Icahn Out For Himself

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In the latest salvo in the ongoing war between Carl Icahn and the Yahoo board led by CEO Jerry Yang, The latter decided to stir the pot write a letter to Yahoo shareholders. In it he says why Icahn’s plan won’t work:

“Mr. Icahn has made it clear that his only objective is to sell part or all of Yahoo! to Microsoft. That fact, combined with his lack of an operating plan going forward, means that he will have no leverage to negotiate a fair deal with Microsoft. He has set himself up for failure.”

and:

“Second, Mr. Icahn and his slate lack the working knowledge of Yahoo! and its Internet business needed to do two things that are required to successfully deliver a value-enhancing transaction for Yahoo! stockholders. First, they do not have the detailed knowledge to negotiate a complex restructuring of a large, innovative high technology company in a rapidly changing environment. Second, they do not have the hands-on experience to manage and lead Yahoo! during the approximately one year period estimated to be required to gain regulatory approval for a deal or to manage and lead the remainder of the Company (non-search) after a transaction is completed. Don’t take our word for that. Mr. Icahn will be calling the shots if his slate wins and yet Mr. Icahn himself told the Wall Street Journal last fall: “Technology hasn’t really been one of the things I’ve focused on too much before” and “It’s hard to understand these technology companies.” That’s why you need a knowledgeable, experienced and independent board to represent your interests vis-a-vis Microsoft.”

and finally:

“Carl Icahn bought his stock two months ago for an estimated average cost of less than $25 per share. He is well-known as a corporate agitator with a short-term approach to his investments. His short-term approach gives Mr. Icahn a strong incentive to strike any deal with Microsoft that enables him to recover his investment and get back his money quickly, even a deal that does not provide full and fair value to you. Is that in the interests of all stockholders? Clearly, it is not.”

The letter urges shareholders to vote using the white proxy card in favour of the current board of directors.

I expect Icahn to hit the roof when he sees this (and likely fire off a response). Whether this has any effect on shareholders is another matter.

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