Peace at Last? Yahoo Settles with Icahn
Today it was announced that Yahoo and Carl Icahn have come to an agreement. By giving Icahn a seat on the board as well as two others to be filled from his list of nominees (one of the current board, Robert Kotick, will not stand for re-election), Yahoo has placated Icahn to the point that he will withdraw his proxy fight plan.
Yahoo said eight members of its current board will stand for re-election, including Chief Executive Jerry Yang, while one member -- Robert Kotick -- won't. The board will be expanded to 11 members, with the two remaining seats chosen by the board from a list of nine candidates running as part of Mr. Icahn's slate. The list of nine candidates includes eight Mr. Icahn had previously put forth along with Jonathan Miller, the former chairman and CEO of AOL.
The announcement draws to a close the months-long proxy battle, restoring some stability to the Internet giant. It means that Mr. Yang, whom Mr. Icahn said he would replace as CEO if elected, is likely safe in the role for now. But Mr. Icahn could continue to pressure Mr. Yang from the board room, possibly making it more difficult for him to stay in the role longer-term. Its impact on the other major question hanging over the Internet company -- whether it will sell all or parts of the company to Microsoft -- remains unclear.
Did the support give for the current BoD by Legg-Mason on Friday have something to do with this? Likely.
Despite the multiple slaps on the back in the Yahoo-issued press release, one has to wonder if those involved were checking their backs for stab marks afterward. To this point, this has been a contentious struggle, and one would be foolish to think all will be sweetness and light going forward.