Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Third Point’s Loeb to Yahoo About Board Rejection: “Illogical Alice-in-Wonderland World”

Third Point’s Dan Loeb, the activist Yahoo shareholder, fired back at the company today about recent board appointments that ignored his alternate slate of directors, in yet another colorful letter that compared the Silicon Valley Internet giant to the famous children’s book “Alice in Wonderland.”

And not in a nice way.

“Our view of the nomination process is further reinforced by your explanation on Sunday as to why I would not be an acceptable Director. You told me that the Board felt my experience and knowledge ‘would not be additive to the Board’ and that as Yahoo!’s largest outside shareholder, I would be ‘conflicted’ as a Director, wrote Loeb to CEO Scott Thompson. “Am I conflicted to advocate for the interests of other shareholders because we are owners of 5.8% (over $1 billion) of Yahoo! shares (unlike the non-retiring and proposed board members who have never purchased a single share of Yahoo! except for subsidized shares issued through option exercises and shares “paid” by the Company in lieu of fees)? Only in an illogical Alice-in-Wonderland world would a shareholder be deemed to be conflicted from representing the interests of other shareholders because he is, well, a shareholder too. This sentiment further confirms that Yahoo!’s approach to Board representation is “shareholders not welcome.”

We’re about to go down the rabbit hole, indeed, as the well-known New York hedge fund exec moves to significantly step up his proxy battle against Yahoo. While it will be a tough road for Third Point to attract enough investor support for his side, it’s still a noisy mess that Yahoo can ill afford, especially as Thompson readies significant layoffs as part of a major restructuring.

Here’s the full text of Loeb’s saucy letter:

TP March 28 Letter to CEO Thompson Re Board Negotiations


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik