The Wall Street Journal has struck a nerve at Yahoo with a story today that quotes several investors who say co-founder Jerry Yang is trying to reassert his power at the company by undermining the board’s effort to find a buyer. “News reports based on rumor and speculation are just that,” the company says in a statement. “Mr. Yang is one of 9 directors with the exact same fiduciary duties and motivation as all of his fellow directors — to serve the best interests of all the company’s shareholders.” The WSJ story says that as former CEO and now a major investor and board member, Yang’s “multiple hats have raised questions both inside and outside Yahoo about whether he can act in the best interest of shareholders rather than from a desire to preserve his influence and legacy.” It quotes a letter sent today by Daniel Loeb, who manages the Third Point LLC hedge fund, a major investor in Yahoo, calling on Yang to resign. He cited Yang’s “ineptitude” in 2008 when he was CEO and rejected Microsoft’s $45B offer for Yahoo — which now has a market value of $19.2B. Loeb said he would fight a “sweetheart” to sell Yahoo to a private equity firm. The story also quotes Peter Schoenfeld of P. Schoenfeld Asset Management LP, who says that the “board should be focused on unlocking [Yahoo] value for all shareholders instead of protecting a small group.” Yahoo has been trying to find its way since September when it fired Carol Bartz as CEO.
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