Friday, June 6, 2008

Get Lost Carl Icahn

I don't know a whole lot about the business of large company mergers and proxy fights, but it strikes me that Icahn should mind his own business and leave Yahoo and its board alone. Who is Icahn - some entitled billionaire who feels the need to buy a large stake and force yahoo to sell Microsoft? Apart from Yahoo shareholders, who stand to see their stock get a bump in the short term, who does that really benefit? Do we need more consolidation of the search business at the top? Are consumers really that ill-served by Google's dominance of the search market? How so?

My only experience with Yahoo is in our business dealings with them at RotoWire, and they're one of the best, easiest and least pretentious big companies we deal with. It would be a shame if they were sold to a company widely reviled as a bully that puts out a mediocre product.

Short-term shareholder value shouldn't be the be-all, end-all of business. I own Yahoo shares, and I don't care about the short-term profit I'd get if Icahn's plan were to go through. I'd rather see the company stay independent.

Perhaps I'm naive here, but hearing Icahn rip Yahoo's management and try to force them to accept Microsoft's since withdrawn takeover bid rubs me the wrong way. What does he even care? The guy is a billionaire already - what good does this do? As usual in mergers, people will lose jobs, and sometimes that's necessary in situations where the underlying business makes no sense, or the merger is highly beneficial to both companies. In this case, Yahoo doesn't want to merge, unless they're blown away by the offer, so why force it?

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