Yahoo has added a button on its main Web site linking to a page that lobbies shareholders to vote against Carl Icahn‘s plans for the company, stepping up its rhetoric in the days leading up to its annual meeting.
The page, reached via a button that reads “Your Yahoo! Your Vote,” clearly tries to discredit Icahn, who has proposed a new board of directors for Yahoo in hopes of facilitating a deal with Microsoft.
Featured on the page is a chart listing companies that Yahoo says Icahn has been involved with and noting how the stock price of each of the companies has changed since his involvement, dating back to 2004. According to Yahoo, of the 15 companies on the list, all but three have seen their stock prices decline. The companies include struggling concerns such as Motorola and Blockbuster.
In bold type at the very top of the page, Yahoo quotes Icahn from a Wall Street Journal article as saying, “It’s hard to understand these technology companies,” in an apparent attempt to portray Icahn as unable to make an informed plan regarding a technology company like Yahoo.
The site links to Yahoo press releases, letters to shareholders and information about how shareholders can cast their votes.
Yahoo plans to hold its annual meeting on Aug. 1. Its entire board of directors is up for re-election at that time, as is a new board proposed by Icahn. The activist investor has said that if his board is elected, Microsoft has agreed to consider a transaction that would include buying Yahoo’s search business.
On his blog, Icahn has not reacted to the new Yahoo Web page, but to date he has been quite clear about his intentions and how he feels about Yahoo’s current leadership. Earlier this week, he issued an open letter to shareholders that said: “Our company is on a precipice and our board seems ready to take the risk of seeing it topple.” That letter was written in response to an earlier letter Yahoo sent to shareholders that was critical of Icahn’s plans.
Large institutional shareholders are beginning to publicly take sides in the dispute. Legg Mason, which owns 4.4 percent of Yahoo’s stock, said on Friday that it plans to back Yahoo’s slate of candidates for the board.