So What's Your Big Plan, Bostock? Other Than Refusing a $44.6 Billion Buyout Offer?
If yesterday’s caustic exchange between Yahoo (YHOO) and Carl Icahn, who likened the company’s CEO to a James Bond villain, is any indication, Yahoo’s Aug. 1 shareholder meeting is going to play out like the denouement of “Goldfinger.”
Yahoo Chairman Roy Bostock lashed out against Icahn late yesterday, claiming the activist investor’s recent allegations about the company’s mismanagement “seriously manipulates the facts.” In a fiery public letter, Bostock decried Icahn’s attack as one based on “a series of unsubstantiated allegations from a complaint filed in a Delaware court, which grossly misstate the very clear record and position established by the Yahoo Board.” And noting Microsoft’s apparent disinterest in renewing merger talks, he said Icahn is mistaken in his belief that Microsoft (MSFT) still wants a deal. “I know you are aware that we have reached out to Microsoft proactively and met with them many times in the last several weeks,” Bostock wrote. “During this period, their message to us and to the markets has been and remains that they are not interested in pursuing a full acquisition of Yahoo.”
Sadly, Bostock notes, Icahn seems to be under the impression that somehow Microsoft will come back to the negotiating table for a full acquisition of Yahoo. But assuming it doesn’t, what then? “Conspicuously absent from your letter is any credible plan for Yahoo other than a repetition of your insistence that the company should sell itself to Microsoft,” Bostock wrote. “Indeed, your stated view that ‘the only way to salvage Yahoo in the long if not short run is to merge with Microsoft’ demonstrates that you have no other plan and causes one to wonder what exactly would happen to our company if you and your nominees were to take control of Yahoo.”
Zing … Of course, the irony of Bostock’s parting shot is that it could also be said of Yahoo and its current board. What’s their big plan … other than refusing a buyout offer that put a 62% premium on the company’s share price?