Ina Fried

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Microsoft Reaches Deal With Activist Investor ValueAct

Microsoft announced late Friday that it has reached a deal with ValueAct, a San Francisco-based investor firm that had been pushing Microsoft to make better use of its assets.

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Under the deal, ValueAct president Mason Morfit will meet regularly with Microsoft directors and management, and ValueAct has the option of having Morfit join Microsoft’s board.

In statements, Morfit, outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer and Microsoft’s lead outside director, John Thompson, all praised the move and said nice things about one another.

According to a regulatory filing, ValueAct is agreeing to several conditions, including not launching a proxy fight or trying to acquire more than a specified number of shares in the company.

Pressure from ValueAct was among the factors that helped persuade Steve Ballmer to retire early, according to various sources close to the company.

ValueAct is one of Microsoft’s largest shareholders, owning just under 1 percent of the company’s shares.


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work