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May 16, 2008

NEWS: Icahn Plans Yahoo Proxy Contest

Ed: No shortage of advise for Yahoo.

Icahn Plans Yahoo Proxy Contest

Carl Icahn is launching a proxy contest to unseat Yahoo's board, a move aimed at pushing Yahoo back to the bargaining table with Microsoft. Icahn plans to nominate 10 directors to replace Yahoo's board before a deadline Thursday.

Yahoo Taking It From All Sides

yahoo_mess_logo2.gifYahoo's having a rough go of it today, with the official emergence of a threat to its board led by investor Carl Icahn, and the usurpation (according to comScore) of its U.S. Web traffic leadership by Google.

In a letter to Yahoo chairman Roy Bostock, Icahn alleged the board "acted irrationally and lost the faith of shareholders and Microsoft," and proposed an alternate board that includes Marc Cuban, Adam Dell and himself. "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 on the day before the initial Microsoft offer." Wall Street Journal has more coverage. TechCrunch has the letter to Bostock...

Can Yahoo Get the Search Monkey Off Its Back?

Yahoo's Search Monkey is released today. Not a moment too soon. My one word summary of what Yahoo needs to do to win: Open. Nothing new there, this is the rallying cry of Yahoo's senior leaders. But perhaps I should add another word: Open faster.

Today Search Monkey, where developers can take Yahoo results and rejigger 'em, opens to the world. It's a good idea. But it's not enough.

I think Yahoo should be far more radical. Yahoo should let folks play behind the curtain. It's one thing to give folks a feed of results and let them mash it up. It's quite a different thing to let folks play with the machinery that produces the results.

Yahoo responds to Icahn’s short story with War & Peace

If you’re Yahoo and you have to respond to billionaire investor Carl Icahn’s letter telling the company he was launching a proxy takeover, you don’t have too many options — you’re going to look weak no matter what you say. The way I saw it there were two options: First, don’t respond. Maybe just pretend you didn’t get the letter and didn’t check the Internet today. Or second, come back with a response so long that it will bore Icahn out of wanting to acquire you. Yahoo chose the latter.

The response, by Yahoo chairman Roy Bostock is really quite incredible when compared to the letter Carl Icahn sent. Icahn wrote four paragraphs to Bostock. Bostock wrote thirteen in response.

Jerry To Yahoos: Please Keep Working! Jerry To Bosses: Here's What To Say (YHOO)

Carl Icahn's moves prompted a flurry of paperwork at Sunnyvale yesterday: First Roy Bostock responded to Carl, then Jerry Yang sent out two memos -- one to all the proles, and one just for "SVPs and above". But since copies of both letters were filed with the SEC Friday morning, they're bascially press releases. And both of them say the same thing: Stay the course, ignore the media, etc. And both showcase Jerry's odd distaste for capital letters.

We'd like to give Jerry credit for straight talk here, but it'd be easier to do so if he didn't repeat the same phrase -- "transforming the online experiences of our users, advertisers, publishers and developers" -- three times in the same missive.

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