Yahoo lets fox into hen house. Now what?

Investor Carl Icahn gets to sit in with the rest of his new best buddies as a board director. And you thought board dysfunction couldn't get any worse?

Most of the headlines rolling off the wire this morning testify to something like a tech version of "Peace in Our Time," now that Yahoo has given Carl Icahn a seat on the company's board of directors.

Sure.

Peace in our time?

Terms of the agreement involve Icahn getting a seat. Meanwhile, the board of directors will get expanded to 11, with Jonathan Miller awarded one and another chosen by Yahoo from the billionaire investor's proposed list.

Why should anyone believe that the fireworks are over? With Icahn getting to sit in with the rest of his new best buddies as a director, board dysfunction at Yahoo remains alive and well.

•  Jerry Yang better watch his back. Icahn, who has made it clear how little he thinks of Yang's stewardship, will continue to agitate for his ouster. Only this time, Icahn does it as a member of Yahoo's board.

Let's not forget the last few months' worth of PR statements out of the Icahn camp, dissing Yang as a geek goof who screwed up the company and then screwed up the negotiations with Microsoft.

For his part, Yang continues to (correctly) believe that Icahn couldn't find his way around a computer keyboard, if his life depended on it. Now these two are going to mug for the cameras? It doesn't get much better than this.

•&nbsp Speaking of the board, which rejected Microsoft's previous approaches: these folks remain in control. The canned quote attributed to Roy Bostock was a brilliant exercise in advanced fiction.

To wit: "We look forward to working productively with Carl and the new members of the board on continuing to improve the company's performance and enhancing stockholder value," Boystock stated.

Bostock must have gagged when his PR handler showed him the text, but this is show business. Let's see if he can resist pushing a cheese Danish into Icahn's face the first time they sit down for a board meeting together.

•&nbsp Unless Icahn drank the Yahoo Kool-Aid and now "bleeds purple," the guy has no intention of turning into a shrinking violet. Icahn remains the short-termer Yahoo's board previously said he was. The billionaire investor didn't get to be a billionaire investor by behaving like a shrinking violet. He wants a deal--any deal--that juices the stock price. And if the direction drifts, Icahn will get into the board's face big-time. Bet on it.

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About the author

Charles Cooper was an executive editor at CNET News. He has covered technology and business for more than 25 years, working at CBSNews.com, the Associated Press, Computer & Software News, Computer Shopper, PC Week, and ZDNet.

 

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