Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

First, Let's Toss Out All the Yahoo Board Members

While Microsoft (MSFT) still has not moved against the board of Yahoo (YHOO), which is one of the many options open to it, some of its more vocal advocates have.

Eric Jackson–who made a very correct nuisance of himself at Yahoo’s annual meeting back in June of 2007 by loudly complaining of management’s weak performance directly to then-CEO Terry Semel and other execs, forming a grassroots shareholder group called “Yahoo! Plan B” and also posting his thoughts on a Web site called “Breakout Performance”–is back.

In an open letter on his site, Jackson takes aim again, this time at the Yahoo board with an online petition. “We believe that the Yahoo! board does not have the moral authority to represent our views as shareholders in discussions with Microsoft or any other company who wants to buy Yahoo!,” it reads. “Therefore, we will band together as a group and agree to sell our Yahoo! shares to the highest bidder. There is currently an offer on the table from Microsoft for $29 (at Microsoft’s current valuation). We view that as a floor bid. We will tender our shares to Microsoft or any other bidder (e.g., AT&T, NBC, News Corp., Comcast, etc.) who makes a better offer than this.”

Asking shareholders to sign an informal pledge, it went on: “If we remain isolated, disenfranchised shareholders (whether we are an individual owning one share or we are a large institutional investor owning thousands of shares), we are powerless to control how Yahoo!’s board acts in getting the best possible outcome for us. If we band together, we can control our own destiny.”

Jackson, who now runs an activist investment firm in Florida called Ironfire Capital, appears to have just over 2.1 million shares pledged (Jackson has 96 shares himself, which makes this all the more delicious).

Here’s a video he did and, below it, he appears in a post and video I did from that Yahoo annual meeting called “I Went to the Yahoo’s Annual Meeting and All I Got Were These Purple Balloons,” in which he appears (and is quite prescient, in fact, as is BoomTown at the end with our Yahoo-as-deflated-balloon prediction):

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work