John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Correction: Icahn Rubber, Yahoo Glue

rockemsockem.jpgBy the time this Yahoo debacle has sorted itself out, Carl Icahn may have done more to revive the long lost art of letter writing than to revive Yahoo (YHOO) itself. In another stink bomb of a letter to Yahoo Chairman Roy Bostock today, the activist investor slagged the company’s leadership with particular vitriol. “In your press release from Friday, you stated again that I do not have a credible plan for Yahoo,” Icahn wrote. “Did you even bother to read my letter, which went into great detail on what measures I would ask the new board to take? Ironically, while you keep inquiring about my plans, it is interesting to note that Yahoo’s board has been busy reaping great compensation benefits. Indeed, you made approximately $10,000 per week last year–not bad for a board member. I believe most of your shareholders would be interested in seeing your time sheets–especially in light of the fact that, in my estimation, most of your so-called ‘plans’ over the last few years have been failures. Remember the old adage–those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.”

Roy, I think you’ve got another letter to write. Icahn’s missive in full follows.

Dear Roy:

After reading Yahoo’s press release put out on Friday in response to my letter of that morning, I cannot help but wonder if you even read my letter.

Again, Yahoo keeps repeating misstatements in the hope it will convince its shareholders that these misstatements are valid. I cannot understand why the Yahoo board feels so strongly about its “poison pill” severance plan and why it continues to refuse to rescind it. How can you continue to repeat that your severance plan is in the best interests of shareholders and employees? Indeed, Yahoo!’s own compensation adviser called the severance plan “nuts.” Is it not true, as the shareholder complaint stated, that Microsoft’s CEO earmarked $1.5 billion for employee retention (a benefit you neglected to tell your employees about)? Is it not better to incentivize employees to stay in their jobs than to quit? Instead of just continuing to repeat the mantra that we have made an inaccurate interpretation of your severance plan, why do you refuse to go into detail as to why our interpretation is incorrect? Additionally, a New York paper reported this weekend that “sources close to Microsoft (MSFT) said the severance plan was a ‘big issue’ when deciding what price they could pay for Yahoo.”

In your press release from Friday, you stated again that I do not have a credible plan for Yahoo. Did you even bother to read my letter, which went into great detail on what measures I would ask the new board to take? Ironically, while you keep inquiring about my plans, it is interesting to note that Yahoo’s board has been busy reaping great compensation benefits. Indeed, you made approximately $10,000 per week last year–not bad for a board member. I believe most of your shareholders would be interested in seeing your time sheets–especially in light of the fact that, in my estimation, most of your so-called “plans” over the last few years have been failures. Remember the old adage–those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. Perhaps most importantly, under my plan, I would ask the board to bring in a talented and experienced CEO to replace Jerry Yang and return Jerry to his role as “Chief Yahoo.” It is extremely important to note that Google hired a great operator as a CEO who helped to transform the company into a giant at the expense of Yahoo! According to publicly available financial information, while Google’s income from operations grew 59% per year over the last two years, Yahoo’s income from operations shrank 21%. What was the board doing over this period? Where was their great “plan”? I believe a new CEO with operating experience might well have had and might still have a very salutary impact on Yahoo. I ask again what your great “plan” has been over the last few years. Why did you permit Google (GOOG) to leave you in the dust?

I outlined a number of questions in Friday’s letter. Why don’t you do me the courtesy of answering my questions as I have answered yours?

Sincerely yours,

CARL C. ICAHN


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