Yahoo's Yang, board supported by shareholders

Yahoo's shareholders have overwhelmingly voted in favour of their current board and their ongoing performance.

The ongoing battle for control over Yahoo seems to have reached a temporary truce. Corporate raider, Carl Icahn, successfully managed to gain some traction on the company's board, however the company's existing leadership received strong support from the remaining shareholders.

Yahoo's annual general meeting has provided an insight into how the silent majority of Yahoo's shareholders are approaching the attempted Microsoft takeovers and subsequent corporate raider muscling in. With 85% of the voting shareholders voting in favour of the current CEO (and company founder), Jerry Yang, and with the remaining eight directors receiving sufficient votes to retain their positions, it sends a strong message that the company's owners are happy with the direction that the CEO and the board are taking the company.

The message is also being sent that they are happy with the decision to resist Microsoft's overtures.

Not only have the votes sent a clear message, but the company's Chairman, Roy Bostock, clearly stated that it was the board that had made the decisions to turn down Microsoft's approaches, and not solely Yang as many had been speculating (and blaming).

According to the reports from Yahoo board members, Microsoft apparently did not put a viable offer on the table during negotiations, and so it seems that Yahoo might still be open to further offers from the company and with Icahn to join the board before the next AGM, next year's AGM will be watched keenly to see how the majority of shareholders react to Icahn's presence.

With the prior coverage of the takeover attempts, and the follow-up investor activity, many were expecting a greater hostile reaction from shareholders. Given such strong support of the incumbent board, it does raise questions as to whether the lop-sided speculation and coverage in the media had been stage managed from the start.

It isn't all rosy for Yahoo, with many of those who voted against the board, or who withheld their votes in protest, strongly against the company's recent actions and compensation to executives. The executive compensation problem is one that has remained from last year, when there was criticism following the deliverance of large stock options to the former Chairman and CEO, Terry Semel, who resigned after last year's AGM following shareholder criticism for poor company performance.

Although Icahn did not attend the AGM, he has succeeded in having the board expanded to 11, to include himself and another candidate put forward by him.

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