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Showdown over the future of Yahoo!

Bob Moon Mar 19, 2012

Stacey Vanek-Smith: A bitter showdown is brewing over the future of Yahoo. A hedge fund investor with a six-percent stake in the internet giant is demanding to take over a block of seats on Yahoo’s board of directors.

Marketplace’s Bob Moon has that story.

Bob Moon: If Yahoo doesn’t respond to his demand this week, activist investor Dan Loeb says he’ll start seeking support from fellow investors. He wants four of the firm’s 11 board seats, and insists the shake up is needed to “make Yahoo great again.”

Charles Elson: Given the problems they’ve had the last few years, I can understand that sense of shareholder frustration.

Charles Elson is a corporate governance expert at the University of Delaware. He says ever since Yahoo botched a lucrative buyout offer from Microsoft in 2008, it’s been slipping behind the competition. And while the threat of a proxy fight could distract Yahoo execs from fixing the company, it could be just what they need.

Elson: I do think, personally, that these things have more value than not, because I think it forces a company to re-examine dogma. There’s nothing wrong with re-examining dogma, particularly if dogma created the dissidence to begin with.

Elson concedes the dissident shareholders have their work cut out for them.

Elson: It’s going to take a lot of effort and a good deal of money to go out and convince everyone that their approach is the correct one.

The struggle could take months, and culminate at Yahoo’s annual shareholder meeting in June.

I’m Bob Moon for Marketplace.

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