In a letter to shareholders today, Bostock said he and three other Yahoo board members — HP’s Vyomesh Joshi as well as Arthur Kern and Gary Wilson — will not seek re-election at the next shareholders meeting. He also said that former Rovi CEO Alfred Amoroso and LiveOps chairman and former eBay COO Maynard Webb are joining the board, meaning all the directors will have joined since 2010. Yahoo remains on the hunt for more independent directors. The moves are part of initiatives taken to refresh the lagging company. They hired Scott Thompson as CEO to replace the ousted Carol Bartz, who was fired in September. Soon after Thompson arrived, co-founder Jerry Yang resigned from the board. Bostock, who has been chairman since 2008, also addressed the progress of the company’s strategic review to boost value to shareholders — a review that has sparked plenty of speculation over whether Yahoo will put itself up for sale. From the letter:
As part of this review, we have pursued a wide range of discussions with potential partners. We have engaged with potential investors and reviewed proposals concerning an equity investment in the Company, although at this time there have not been any proposals which have been deemed by the Committee to be attractive to our shareholders. We are also in active discussions with our partners in Asia regarding the possibility of restructuring our holdings in Alibaba Group and Yahoo! Japan.
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That probably explains why Yahoo shares are up 3% in after-hours trading. He’s resigning from the board — and related positions at Yahoo Japan and Alibaba Group Holding — 17 years after co-founding the company because ”the time has come for me to pursue other interests outside of Yahoo!” he said in a letter to chairman Roy Bostock. Yang added that he’s ”enthusiastic about the appointment of Scott Thompson as Chief Executive Officer and his ability, along with the entire Yahoo! leadership team, to guide Yahoo! into an exciting and successful future.” Bostock says that Yang “has always remained focused on the best interests of Yahoo!’s stakeholders, including shareholders, employees and more than 700 million users.” But his opposition to Microsoft’s 2008 acquisition offer of $33 a share still haunts him: Yahoo closed Tuesday at $15.43. Read More »
The Wall Street Journal has struck a nerve at Yahoo with a story today that quotes several investors who say co-founder Jerry Yang is trying to reassert his power at the company by undermining the board’s effort to find a buyer. “News reports based on rumor and speculation are just that,” the company says in a statement. “Mr. Yang is one of 9 directors with the exact same fiduciary duties and motivation as all of his fellow directors — to serve the best interests of all the company’s shareholders.” The WSJ story says that as former CEO and now a major investor and board member, Yang’s ”multiple hats have raised questions both inside and outside Yahoo about whether he can act in the best interest of shareholders rather than from a desire to preserve his influence and legacy.” It quotes a letter sent today by Daniel Loeb, who manages the Third Point LLC hedge fund, a major investor in Yahoo, calling on Yang to resign. He cited Yang’s “ineptitude” in 2008 when he was CEO and rejected Microsoft’s $45B offer for Yahoo — which now has a market value of $19.2B. Loeb said he would fight a “sweetheart” to sell Yahoo to a private equity firm. The story also quotes Peter Schoenfeld of P. Schoenfeld Asset Management LP, who says that the ”board should be focused on unlocking [Yahoo] value for all shareholders instead of protecting a small group.” Yahoo has been trying to find its way since September … Read More »
In a memo leaked today, Yahoo co-founders Jerry Yang and David Filo and chairman Roy Bostock gave employees a “next phase” update. It follows Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz being removed from her post September 6th, then rumors swirling that the board was getting closer to officially putting the company up for sale. The new memo reveals that the board of directors with management is conducting a “strategic review” and has hired investment bankers Allen & Co to help and is looking for a permanent CEO:
In our recent all hands meeting, we talked about the Board’s strategic review to help return the Company to a path of robust growth and industry-leading innovation. While our teams are working to evaluate the many opportunities by which Yahoo! can continue building on our success, all kinds of people have been – and will continue – speculating in the media about where that work is headed, so we thought it best to provide you with some additional context directly from those of us who are closest to it. We don’t have specific news to share with you today, but we are committed to communicating with you directly from time to time – especially given the level of external swirl – so that you know where we are in the process. You can expect periodic updates from us and we encourage you to communicate with us as well.
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Carol Bartz has been replaced as CEO of Yahoo, the company said in a statement today. CFO Tim Morse has been appointed to the post on an interim basis after the company’s board of directors — including chairman Roy Bostock and co-founder Jerry Yang — made the decision to let her go after less than three years on the job. “I am very sad to tell you that I’ve just been fired over the phone by Yahoo’s chairman of the board,” she said in a memo sent to staff. “It has been my pleasure to work with all of you and I wish you only the best going forward.” Yahoo said it would conduct a strategic review aimed at reviving the company’s growth prospects. Yahoo had seemingly begun to lose its way even before Bartz took over for Yang in January 2009, and has been unable to capitalize on Asian investments and kick-start expansion since. The company has been considering all of its options, from making more acquisitions –it is believed to be a bidder for Hulu– to splitting itself into parts. The lack of a clear direction has made Yahoo a head-scratcher for investors frustrated with its lackluster stock performance. The company’s shares were up 6.3% after hours today, but Credit Suisse analyst Spencer Wang was skeptical. ”This news signals that the Yahoo turnaround story remains very much a work in progress. While Yahoo’s stock may react positively to the news, the fundamental challenges … Read More »