Why Icahn Should Sit Down and Wise Up
Gazillionaire Carl Icahn, a money-hungry shark who has thrust himself into the middle of the Microsoft-Yahoo negotiations, should keep his teeth out of the whole thing and mind his own damn business.
Reuters reported June 3 that Icahn is so angry that the first round of negotiations failed on May 3 that he would seek to remove Jerry Yang as CEO of Yahoo if he wins a proposed proxy fight against the company. He actually wants to replace the entire Yahoo board of directors.
Naturally, he would include himself on the new 10-person board. What a putz!
Icahn could care less about Yahoo's business -- its time-tested features and services, well-established brand recognition and widespread customer loyalty. All he cares about is -- you guessed it -- dollars. He bought into Yahoo presuming it would be acquired, and when it doesn't (and if cooler heads prevail, it won't ever sell to Microsoft), he goes off on a tirade.
Even newbies in this business know that if Yahoo were to sell itself to Microsoft, it would never again be the company it was designed to be. It would morph into a mere Internet arm of the world's most disliked IT company. All the truly talented people at Yahoo would leave; you can bet on that. Microsoft would be stuck with something much less than what Yahoo is now.
The cash-thirsty Icahn owns about 3.6 percent of Yahoo -- about 50 million shares of stock at an investment of some $1 billion. That's substantial, certainly, but he's got many more billions where that came from. Certainly he's entitled to a profit based on his investment. He's even entitled to make some noise to the board members if he's not happy.
But to try and fire the CEO who co-founded and built Yahoo over the last 13 years into one of the biggest and most successful Internet companies in the world -- somebody who truly understands the Internet business? Carl, you're cracked.
Mr. Icahn, thank you, but go on over to the bank and count your money. That's where your real friends are.