Shareholder Icahn reiterates call to replace Yahoo's board

2008-07-15 07:59:07 GMT       2008-07-15 15:59:07 (Beijing Time)       Xinhua English

Activist investor Carl Icahn on Monday renewed his call to replace Yahoo's board of directors to pave the way for an acquisition deal with Microsoft.

Icahn made the call in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) after Yahoo revealed late Saturday that it had spurned Microsoft's latest attempt to buy its online search engine in a joint proposal made with Icahn.

Icahn urged shareholders to vote for his slate of nine directors, saying he was confident the new board would "in very short order" present shareholders with an offer to sell the whole company or its search functions with large financial guarantees.

Under the Icahn-Microsoft proposal, Microsoft would buy Yahoo's search engine, while Icahn would get Yahoo's remaining pieces.

"During the next few weeks you will be hearing from us about how these changes can be effectuated and a transaction structured to enhance value for all shareholders," Icahn said in a letter to shareholders filed with the SEC.

Yahoo and Microsoft failed to reach a deal in May following the breakdown of last-ditch efforts to negotiate a mutually acceptable sale price. Icahn started a shareholder rebellion a few weeks later, an effort supported by Microsoft which insisted on the replacement of Yahoo's board as a condition for renewing negotiations on a deal.

Hoping to fend off the revolt, Yahoo's board is now willing to sell the entire company to Microsoft for 47.5 billion dollars, or 33 dollars per share -- a price it rejected as too low 10 weeks ago.

Icahn said in his filing that he received assurances from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer that Microsoft "would be willing to enter into discussions regarding a transaction immediately" if Icahn's slate is elected in an Aug. 1 vote.

Yahoo shares fell 92 cents, or 3.9 percent, to 22.65 dollars in morning trading, while Microsoft stock added 51 cents, or 2 percent, to 25.76 dollars.

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