Yahoo to Icahn: Hey, "Irrational" Is Our Middle Name
If, as Carl Icahn claimed this morning, Yahoo’s board has acted irrationally and lost the faith of shareholders, the Internet company apparently sees no point in acting rationally to regain it. In a letter to the investor-agitator, Yahoo (YHOO) Chairman Roy Bostock dismissed Icahn’s threat of a proxy battle nearly as brusquely as it turned away Microsoft (MSFT) (the press release bullet alerts below summarize the letter quite nicely).
According to Bostock and Co., Icahn just doesn’t get it (and, to be fair, there are some who agree). “Your letter reflects a significant misunderstanding of the facts about the Microsoft proposal and the diligence with which our board evaluated and responded to that proposal,” Bostock wrote. “A fair-minded review of the factual record leads to one conclusion: that Yahoo’s 10-member board, comprised of nine independent directors along with Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang, remains the best and most qualified group to maximize value for all Yahoo stockholders. Conversely, we do not believe it is in the best interests of Yahoo stockholders to allow you and your hand-picked nominees to take control of Yahoo for the express purpose of trying to force a sale of Yahoo! to a formerly interested buyer who has publicly stated that they have moved on. Please may I remind you that there is currently no acquisition offer on the table from that company or any other party.”
Well, no acquisition offer that Bostock knows of, anyway. Microsoft may not be finished with Yahoo yet. “We think Microsoft may still be interested [in Yahoo] as, in our view, it needs Yahoo to compete vs. Google,” wrote UBS analyst Ben Schachter in a research note today. “We continue to think a deal will be reached.”