Billionaire investor Carl Icahn will try to remove Yahoo cofounder Jerry Yang as the company's CEO if his proxy battle is successful, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.
In an interview with the newspaper, Icahn accused Yang of being unwilling to consider Microsoft's acquisition offer and costing the company money in his efforts to deter the deal. He also said that Microsoft is hesitant to make Yahoo another offer because it doesn't trust Yahoo's current management, according to the Journal.
Unless the board is ousted and Yang removed as CEO, Microsoft will not make a deal with the Internet company, Icahn told the newspaper.
Icahn said he plans to make a public statement about his concerns with Yang and the current Yahoo board in the next day, according to the Journal.
Icahn's public ire against Yang comes a day after Yahoo lost a battle to keep private some information about the company's operations that was revealed in a shareholder lawsuit against Yahoo, filed in a Delaware court.
The 64-page complaint contains blistering allegations, copies of internal Yahoo documents and e-mails, and blow-by-blow accounts of what plaintiffs characterize as Yahoo bad-faith maneuvers. The complaint had been made available previously but with portions redacted.
Icahn's proxy fight against Yahoo officially began May 15, when he sent a letter to Yahoo's board announcing he was nominating 10 candidates to replace all incumbent directors -- which include Yang -- at the company's shareholders meeting in July. Icahn did not indicate at the time that he was going to replace Yang as top executive of Yahoo, however. Before he sent the letter, Icahn began buying up millions of shares of Yahoo stock.
A few days after Icahn's letter, both Microsoft and Yahoo said publicly that they were open to negotiating another deal, although not one for Microsoft to purchase the entire company but instead to buy only pieces of Yahoo. Comments Icahn made to the Journal on Tuesday indicate that Yang and the current Yahoo board are acting inconsistently with those public comments.
Yahoo's board is scheduled to meet Tuesday, the Journal reported, quoting anonymous sources.