Biz Break: Starboard’s boss plays diplomat with Yahoo

Top Of The Order: 

Welcome To The Neighborhood: Last week, Yahoo avoided what promised to be a nasty proxy fight at its upcoming shareholders meeting by agreeing to add four new board members proposed by activist hedge fund investor Starboard Value. Starboard, which owns 1.7 percent of Yahoo’s outstanding shares, had originally put forth a slate of nine proposed directors in an attempt to replace Yahoo’s entire board, including Chief Executive Marissa Mayer.

But, Yahoo managed to make peace with Starboard by agreeing to add its CEO, Jeffrey Smith, and three allies, Tor Braham, Eddy Hartenstein and Richard Hill to its board, while current Yahoo board members Lee Scott and Sue James will not stand for re-election.

So, how is Smith finding his latest board seat? This is a guy who, after all, has made a career of upending the boards of companies he believes are underperforming. In fact, on April 27, the same day it could be argued that Yahoo capitulated to Starboard, the hedge fund also scored board seats at chipmaker Marvell Technology Group.

“The board members have been terrific and welcoming, the management team has been terrific and welcoming,” Smith said at a Milken Institute Global Conference panel discussion on Monday. “This is no different from almost all of the companies that we get involved with.”

Well, it is a little different. Yahoo is in the middle of trying to sell all or part of itself after years of Mayer’s efforts to revitalize the company. Mayer, herself, might not be long for Yahoo, depending on how the company’s sale efforts turn out.

But, hey, don’t worry about Mayer. Somehow, she will probably find a way to make do on the $55 million severance package she is set to receive if she is fired without cause, or leaves as the result of a “change of control” at Yahoo.

Knowing you have that chunk of change waiting for you might help contribute to one having a welcoming attitude toward someone who until a week ago wanted to kick you out of your own office building.

Middle Innings:

Say “Adobe” Three Times Fast: While LiveFyre sounds like the name of a band you might have seen on MTV’s “Headbanger’s Ball” back in 1988, it is actually a 7-year-old San Francisco company that specializes in developing online commenting systems that platforms use to deliver content into web sites, ads and other media.

And as of Tuesday, LiveFyre is now part of Adobe Systems and the many ways that Adobe likes to put Adobe into its products’ names.

Aseem Chandra, vice president of Adobe Experience Manager and Adobe Target, said Adobe will acquire privately held LiveFyre for an undisclosed amount in a deal that will help its customers “unify the best social media content with branded experiences created in Adobe Creative Cloud and community-driven content in Adobe Behance and Adobe Stock.”

Or, in other words, “Livefyre will be part of Adobe Experience Manager and integrated across Adobe Marketing Cloud to make user generated content available across all eight digital marketing solutions.”

Um…Or, in more “other words,” Livefyre will be used by Adobe across a lot of its marketing software products. Adobe didn’t say if Livefyre will take on an Adobe first name as part of joining its new Adobe family.

Bottom Of The Lineup: 

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

Movin’ On Up: Integrated Device Technology shares rose more than 5 percent, and Tessera Technologies, ShoreTel, Yelp and Rovi also posted gains.

In The Red: Losses came from SolarCity, LendingClub, SunPower, Servicesource International and Nimble Storage.

The SV150 Index of Silicon Valley’s biggest companies fell 1.,7 percent to 1,591.

The tech-focused Nasdaq Composite Index shed 1.1 percent to close at 4,763.

The blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average gave up 0.8 percent to end the day at 17,750.

And the broad-based Standard & Poor’s 500 Index ended the day off by 0.9 percent at 2,063.

Quote Of The Day: “To have 16? That’s almost too much to frigging process.” — Composer and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda, whose musical “Hamilton” received a record 16 Tony Award nominations on Tuesday.

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


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