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Yahoo extends deadline for Microsoft to name opposition slate

The move gives the Internet search pioneer more time to consider its options and other suitors as Microsoft's takeover bid looms.

Yahoo announced Wednesday that it is extending the deadline to nominate opposition candidates to its board of directors, a move that will likely delay a hostile proxy fight with Microsoft.

The deadline had previously been set for March 14, but now will be extended to a new deadline of 10 days after Yahoo announces the date for its shareholders meeting.

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In its announcement, Yahoo stated:

"As the company has not yet announced the date of this year's annual meeting, the amendment will give stockholders who want to nominate one or more directors, including Microsoft Corporation, more time to do so. The amendment does not preclude any party from nominating one or more directors at any time prior to the new deadline."

As I predicted last week, Yahoo finds it wise to give Microsoft more time before it has to present its hostile slate of directors. The move also gives the Internet search pioneer more time to consider its options and other suitors, without putting undue pressure on Microsoft to go hostile. (See also: "Yang's memo: Buying time in Microsoft bid")

"Yahoo's board of directors remains committed to pursuing initiatives that maximize value for Yahoo's stockholders. To the extent that the extension of the nomination deadline has the effect of postponing the nomination of one or more directors by any party, it will allow Yahoo's board to continue to explore all of its strategic alternatives for maximizing value for stockholders without the distraction of a proxy contest," Yahoo said in Wednesday's announcement.

My second bet: Microsoft will take that extra time.