Yahoo publishes hit piece on Icahn the investor

Today’s filings in the Yahoo saga include a hit piece on Carl Icahn’s prowess as an investor. It kicks off with the prominently featured graphic we show here, and then details information related to his involvement with 15 companies over the last couple of years, including what has happened to the stock price of each since Icahn began his involvement. In case you’re wondering, in the case of all but three, the stocks lost value, which Yahoo kindly helps you tally with the use of big bold arrows.

We can’t vouch for the accuracy of any of this, and late on a Friday afternoon, aren’t going to even try. Yahoo itself (or at least its lawyer) includes this reminder:

“The companies listed here are companies in which Carl Icahn has invested in the stock and sought to obtain Board membership and/or influence the strategic direction of the company. The stock prices of these companies may have fluctuated for a variety of reasons, including reasons unrelated to Mr. Icahn’s involvement. Past performance of companies in which Icahn has invested may not be indicative of future performance of the same or other investments.”

Another filing today includes a transcript of a video address from Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang to the Yahoo troops that begins “Hey guys.” In it he describes what amounts to a full-court press the company is making to influence shareholders to vote against Icahn’s slate of directors, including the launch of an advertising campaign online on Yahoo’s homepage. “With one of the largest audiences on the Internet,” Yang points out, “we’re taking full advantage of the power of our network to remind our stockholders why voting for Carl Icahn’s board of directors is a bad choice.”

Yang sounds very upbeat, telling employees that “We’ve also increasingly seen stories in the media that reflect an understanding of our position.”

He evidently has won over at least one important vote, that of Bill Miller, chairman of Legg Mason Capital Management, one of Yahoo’s top five shareholders, who said Friday he intends to vote for the current board. Legg Mason becomes the first major shareholder to do so.

Icahn may come to regret picking fights with folks who produce pixels by the gigabytes, to torture an old saying that used to apply to newspapers. Sigh.


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