Biz Break: Yahoo faces board takeover battle

Top Of The Order: 

And On The Starboard Side: Well, it was pretty much a given that activist investor Starboard Value was going to try to get at least a couple of seats on Yahoo’s board of directors. But what the New York-based fund proposed on Thursday was nothing less that a scorched-Earth effort to rid Yahoo of the legacy of Chief Executive Marissa Mayer.

Starboard, and its CEO Jeffrey Smith, sent a letter to Yahoo saying they would seek to replace Yahoo’s entire nine-member board of directors at the company’s next annual shareholders meeting, which will likely be held in March. Starboard, which owns 1.7 percent of Yahoo’s outstanding stock, said it was taking such action after what it called “Yahoo’s dismal financial performance, poor management execution, egregious compensation and hiring practices, and general lack of accountability and oversight by the board.”

Among the new board members that Starboard is putting up to a shareholder vote is its CEO, Smith, who led a similar revolt against Darden Restaurants in 2014 that ended with Starboard replacing that company’s 12 directors and made Smith chairman of Darden’s board.

Yahoo released a statement of its owns saying its board’s nominating and governance committee “will review Starboard’s proposed director nominees and respond in due course.”

Middle Innings:

And More From Apple: It’s almost a fool’s errand to try to get through a day without hearing anything about Apple, so why bother. Here’s a few things that involved the world’s most-valuable company on Thursday..

Just in time for the Christmas and holiday shopping seasons at the end of the year, Apple is reportedly going to launch its Apple Pay digital payment technology for use on mobile websites, in addition to the Apple Pay app that works with the iPhone. Individuals will have to use Apple’s Safari browser on the iPhone or iPads with TouchID fingerprint technology.

Apple is offering sales of Microsoft Office 365 Suite to those who purchase the new iPad Pro as part of its efforts to make the tablet appeal to more business customers. Office 365 includes programs such as Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

And Apple found itself involved in a union dispute, as workers building the company’s new Cupertino headquarters protested what they called unfair wages paid by the contractor in charge of the project.

TiVo On Rovi’s Schedule?: TiVo shares surged more than 23 percent Thursday, to close at $9.45 amid reports that the DVR technology company may be about to be sold to Rovi. TiVo, which still markets its own TV set-top boxes, has been licensing more of its technology to cable and satellite-TV providers, while Rovi licenses technology used in TV programming guides and measuring audiences for advertisers.

Let The (PlayStation) Games Begin: Sony, looking to expand the reach of its PlayStation gaming platform, is about to make its games available on Google Android and Apple iOS devices. Sony is doing this by forming a new company called ForwardWorks to bring PlayStation titles to the the mobile devices. However, there is a catch. At least initially, the company will focus only on mobile devices in Asia and Japan. Also, ForwardWorks is supposed to launch on April 1, so…There is the April Fool’s Day possibility here…

Bottom Of The Lineup:

Here’s a look at how some leading Silicon Valley stocks did Thursday…

Movin’ On Up: 

In addition to TiVo’s big gains, Pandora Media shares rose more than 10 percent after the Internet radio company added Anthony Vinciquerra to its board of directors. The move added to recent speculation that Pandora could be up for sale. Gains also came from QuinStreet, Medivation and Silicon Graphics International.

In The Red:

Sigma Designs shares fell more than 19 percent, and other decliners included Chegg, Aviat Networks, Omnicell and RingCentral.

The SV150 Index of Silicon Valley’s biggest companies rose 0.2 percent to 1,583.

The tech-focused Nasdaq Composite Index edged up by 0.1 percent to 4,773.

The blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.1 percent to close at 17,513

And the broad-based Standard & Poor’s 500 Index ended the day with a slight loss at 2,035.

Quote Of The Day: “Nobody can write better jokes putting me down than me.” — Comedian Garry Shandling, who died Thursday at the age of 66.

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Photo: A person walks in front of a Yahoo sign at the company’s headquarters in Sunnyvale, Calif. in this 2014 file photo.  (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)




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