Tech giant Yahoo has struggled to find its way over the last five years, rotating through four CEOs and a series of layoffs. Now, activist shareholder Third Point, which is agitating to add four handpicked members to Yahoo’s board, has launched an entire website, valueyahoo.com, to make its case about what is going wrong at Yahoo’s business and what can be done to turn it around.
On Value Yahoo, visitors can meet the proposed board members: Third Point CEO Dan Loeb, Michael Wolf, Jeff Zucker and Harry Wilson. Loeb, obviously is the force behind all this, having built up a 5.8 percent stake in Yahoo worth more than $1 billion. Michel Wolf is a former COO at MTV and now runs the boutique digital consulting firm, Activate. Jeff Zucker is the former CEO of NBC, and Harry Wilson is a turnaround specialist.
Yahoo said it would accept Wilson, and it recently added two east-coast media executives to its board, just not the ones Third Point was suggesting. But it’s still got a number of long standing board members in place, who, Third Point recently pointed out, are happy to collect an annual salary but have not purchased any actual Yahoo shares, and in fact have repeatedly sold their stake. As the site asks:
If Yahoo! receives significant cash proceeds from asset sales, do you trust the Legacy Board and Insider Slate to allocate them effectively, including return of capital to shareholders and a prudent approach to M&A?Or do you believe the Shareholder Slate, with over $1 billion of “skin-in-the-game”, and extensive capital allocation expertise, can better maximize shareholder value?
This is all part of the ongoing campaign to muster shareholder support for Third Point, which is planning a proxy battle with Yahoo and its new CEO, Scott Thompson. The site has an entire section set up to explain how shareholders can cast their vote.