/// Yahoo May Not Need a "Loebotomy," But It Definitely Can’t Endure a Brain-Sapping Proxy Fight

February 17, 2012  |  All Things Digital

Let’s put this in the simplest terms: Yahoo cannot spend the next half year in any kind of testy proxy battle with activist shareholder Daniel Loeb. Not shouldn’t. Can’t . Having closely covered the last goat rodeo in 2008 with corporate troublemaker Carl Icahn — which ended in big shareholders dinging the board badly and the controversial activist joining it — I can say definitively that the experience damaged the Silicon Valley Internet company in ways that are still resonating. Angry shareholders (whose anti-Yahoo votes were initially miscounted in a stunning bumble), distracted management, media story after story about the fight, it eventually led to the departure of then CEO Jerry Yang by the holidays of that year, a rejiggered board and a new CEO, Carol Bartz, and fervent promises of change and turnaround. Fast forward to today: Bartz was ousted in the fall of last year, a newish board is coming in, there’s another new CEO and, of course, more fervent promises of change and turnaround. This is like the movie “Groundhog Day,” except not nearly as funny. Speaking of funny, a Heard on the Street in The Wall Street Journal yesterday actually went fabulously snarktastic with its headline on Yahoo’s current tussle with Loeb of Third Point: “Is Yahoo Ready for a Loebotomy?” Heh. Opening with the line, “How many activists does it take to screw in Yahoo’s light bulb?,” the piece went on to ponder back and forth the impact of Loeb on the already dicey situation at Yahoo. It concluded: “Yahoo investors shouldn’t expect a quick fix whoever the directors are. But, given how long Yahoo has been struggling to gain traction on its own, having a champion of shareholder value on the board can’t hurt.” Nope, it can’t, as long as said investor wants to help find the successful fix previous Yahoo leaders have been heretofore unable to

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Yahoo May Not Need a "Loebotomy," But It Definitely Can’t Endure a Brain-Sapping Proxy Fight

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