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War of the Words

The rhetoric in the battle for Yahoo just got a little more personal.

If he is successful in electing his slate of directors to the Yahoo board this summer, billionaire investor Carl Icahn says he will seek to remove Yahoo co-founder and CEO Jerry Yang, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Of course, this is not exactly a surprise. Icahn made clear his disapproval of Yahoo's conduct before, irked in particular by the way that Yahoo rejected a buyout bid from Microsoft earlier this year. In launching his bid to replace the entire Yahoo board with a slate of his choosing, Icahn wrote a brief letter to Yahoo in which he called the board's actions in dealing with Microsoft "irrational," "irresponsible" and "unconscionable."

Icahn has acquired a significant stake in Yahoo and is seeking to take control of the Yahoo board and lure Microsoft back to buy the company. He is counting on the disgruntlement of other shareholders, who watched as the Yahoo board resisted Microsoft's $33-a-share bid, a large potential premium over the $19 shares were selling for before the offer.

In response to Icahn's statement, Yahoo issued a statement, reiterating its position that it gave the Microsoft offer fair consideration.

"Yahoo's Board of Directors including Jerry Yang, has been crystal clear that it would consider any proposal by Microsoft that was in the best interests of its shareholders," it said. "To that end, Yahoo has engaged in extensive discussions with Microsoft over the last several months, culminating in Microsoft's decision not to pursue an acquisition of Yahoo! Mr. Icahn's assertions ignore this clear factual record.

By Peter Whoriskey  |  June 3, 2008; 4:42 PM ET  | Category:  Peter Whoriskey
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"irrational," "irresponsible" and "unconscionable."?? Was he looking in a mirror when he said that?

Posted by: Dana | June 5, 2008 4:25 PM

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