Yahoo's board (the Carl Icahn version) holds first meeting

Yahoo holds its first board meeting with former proxy fight adversaries Carl Icahn and two of his members--without any fireworks or DOJ fight-or-flight decisions.

Yahoo's board gathered Tuesday in a rather subdued affair, yielding no new major decisions. But it did provide a cultural introduction to the company's adversaries-turned-directors Carl Icahn, Frank Biondi, and John Chapple , said a source familiar with the company.

Icahn, who earlier this year launched a proxy fight to unseat Yahoo's board before settling for three seats on the 11-member board , is no stranger to arriving at boardrooms as an interloper.

But in some of those cases, such as ImClone Systems, he came armed with specific ideas of how to change the company's operations and soon was named chairman, despite having minority representation on the board.

In the case of Yahoo, however, Icahn did not come to his first board meeting with a laundry list of suggested changes.

"It was the first meeting with Carl, and nothing major happened. The board talked about the three-year strategic plan and how to execute on it," said one source familiar with the company. "It was a way for him to also learn about the culture of the company."

The board meeting did not offer any greater clarity to Icahn and crew on whether Yahoo has the resolve to pursue its controversial search advertising agreement with Google , should the Department of Justice challenge the partnership on antitrust grounds .

No decision was made as to whether Yahoo would engage in fight or flight, should its Google transaction face a challenge by regulators, the source said.

And although published reports surfaced Tuesday that Yahoo's board had approved renewing talks with Time Warner's AOL , the source noted that no such vote was taken. The source, however, pointed out that on-and-off talks between the two companies have gone on for months now and nothing substantial has changed.

Yahoo spokeswoman Kim Rubey declined to comment on the company's board meetings and a representative for Icahn was not immediately available.

Meanwhile, a CNBC report on Wednesday cited an e-mail Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang sent to employees regarding the hiring of Bain & Co. and reportedly hinting at potential upcoming layoffs.

Yahoo spokeswoman Rubey, responded: "Yahoo! has been exploring ways to streamline our processes and bring new agility and efficiency to how we work as an organization. As part of this effort, we have engaged Bain & Co. to help us identify opportunities for improvement. This work is well underway, with the ultimate goal of positioning Yahoo! to achieve long-term, sustainable growth."

 

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