Yahoo's Got Leggs, Knows How to Use Them
Yahoo’s latest broadside against the “Microsoft-Icahn agenda” has struck a chord with a key investor: Legg Mason Capital Management. The firm on Friday threw its support behind Yahoo, saying it will vote its 4.4 percent stake in Yahoo (60.7 million shares) against the slate of dissident directors presented by investor-agitator Carl Icahn. “After consideration of the relevant facts and circumstances and our fiduciary duty to our clients, it is our intention to vote in favor of the slate of directors proposed by the current board,” said Bill Miller, chairman of Legg Mason. ” … We believe the current board acted with care and diligence when evaluating Microsoft’s offers. We believe the board is independent and focused on value creation for long-term shareholders.”
Apparently, Legg Mason (LM) also finds the latest Microsoft-Icahn agenda profoundly unappealing. Still, the investment firm said it remains willing to consider a sale to Microsoft (MSFT), given the right conditions. “If Microsoft wants to acquire Yahoo, it can make the terms and conditions of its offer public,” Miller added. “If Yahoo shareholders support it, I am confident the board of Yahoo will accept it.”
Legg Mason’s vote is an important endorsement for the increasingly desperate Yahoo (YHOO), which today added a massive anti-Icahn button to its homepage in an effort to court shareholder sympathy. Click on it and you’re taken to a vicious critique of Icahn and his intentions for Yahoo that ironically begins with the investor’s own words: “It’s hard to understand these technology companies.” Yahoo then offers proof of that apparent lack of understanding with a helpful chart. Pulled from the company’s 34-page SEC filing today, it shows share prices of 12 of the 15 public companies in which Icahn has involved himself lately in apparent decline.