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Yahoo investors still unhappy despite board appointments

Warwick Ashford

Yahoo has appointed three new directors to its board in a bid to turn around the struggling internet company and increase shareholder value.

On Sunday, Yahoo announced John Hayes, chief marketing officer of American Express; Peter Liguori, former chief operating officer of Discovery Communications; and Thomas McInerney, outgoing chief financial officer of AC/InterActiveCorp, would join Yahoo's board of directors from 5 April 2012.

But the move failed to appease activist investors vowing to pursue earlier threats of a proxy fight, according to the Financial Times.

New York-based hedge fund, Third Point, one of Yahoo's largest institutional shareholders with a 5.8% stake, said it was dissatisfied with Yahoo's choices.

None of the three appointees was among the four proposed by Daniel Loeb, manager of Third Point. Loeb's nominees were himself; Michael Wolf, a media consultant and former chief operating officer at MTV Networks; Jeff Zucker, a former chief executive of NBC Universal; and Harry Wilson, a US corporate turnaround specialist.

Third Point, which has been pushing to overhaul Yahoo's board, said it would move forward with a "time-consuming and distracting proxy contest," the Financial Times said.

“Yahoo’s shareholders deserve a voice and a choice,” Third Point said in a statement. "In the absence of independent shareholder oversight, the Yahoo boards of the past five years have given shareholders five CEOs and strategic plans in as many years and seriously damaged the value of the core business.”

Yahoo said the three directors it chose were better qualified than other candidates.

The three appointments bring to five the number of new board members for the year, after chairman Roy Bostock and three other directors announced in February they would not seek re-election and a fifth resigned.

In January, Jerry Yang, co-founder and former chief executive of Yahoo, finally cut ties with the company by resigning from its board after 16 years, and former Paypal head Scott Thompson replaced Carol Bartz as chief executive officer.

Yahoo said it expects the majority of directors to be new after this year’s annual meeting of stockholders, and that the entire board will be new since January 2010.


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