When it rains, it pours. The embattled Yahoo, which made itself the black sheep of Silicon Valley this week with a patent lawsuit against Facebook, is now facing a proxy battle over a new board from activist investor Dan Loeb at Third Point.
Apparently Daniel Loeb is not happy with the way Yahoo treated his suggestions for new board members. Third Point is one of the largest Yahoo shareholders, with a 6 percent stake, and has been campaigning for a group of four new board members. Yesterday Mr. Loeb sent an email to Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson declaring that he will begin a proxy battle the week.
“The Board’s stonewalling, apparent insouciance and decision not to engage with us in a serious manner, has left us no choice but to directly approach our fellow owners with the Shareholder Slate. Accordingly, we hereby notify you that we intend to file our Preliminary Proxy Statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission within the week,” Loeb wrote in his letter.
If there is one thing Loeb clearly brings to the table, it’s a word-of-the-day calendar (insouciance = casual lack of concern). Loeb’s slate of new directors includes former NBC chief Jeff Zucker, former MTV chief operating officer Michael Wolf, turnaround expert Harry Wilson, and himself, naturally. Loeb says that his candidates each got one brief call from the current board, which wasn’t even classified as a official interview.
“Scott, it is not too late for you to take decisive leadership action and avoid the costs and distraction of an expensive proxy contest fighting the Shareholder Slate (which, according to our research, will be well-received by shareholders). If you invite us on, we will bring strong shareholder advocacy, leading corporate governance, first class restructuring capabilities and leading media strategies to a Board that is sorely in need of each of the above. In addition, you will have avoided an unnecessary battle with your largest outside shareholder. You appear to have enough battles to fight already,” wrote Loeb. Ain’t that the truth.