John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Icahn to Yahoo Board: Don't Make Me Get Medieval on Your Assets

monkeys.jpgAs predictable as the call and response between two chattering squirrel monkeys, the recent dialogue between Yahoo (YHOO) and Carl Icahn. And about as elevated.

In a speech to reporters at the New York Financial Writers’ Association annual awards dinner last night, the billionaire investor–clearly irked by Yahoo’s latest SEC filing–let loose on the company, accusing it of “sinking to a new low.” Yahoo’s severance plan, which Icahn argues was designed to make any takeover of the company prohibitively expensive, is obscene, said the investor. It’s “an insult to our intelligence … a complete, total … I don’t want to use bad words … a travesty,” he added. For the people Microsoft (MSFT) wants to keep, Icahn maintained, the severance plan “will make it easier for them to leave.” And then, just in case anyone was still unclear on Icahn’s view of the company’s leadership, he offered up the following brief performance review:

Yahoo has done terribly. The board has done an abysmal job.”

Mess with the bull, you get the horns. And if Yahoo’s board persists in messing with Icahn, it may get them in the form of a lawsuit. “If they continue with this line,” the investor told Reuters, “I believe they (the board) may be personally liable.”

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald