Bloomberg News

Yahoo’s Board Said to Meet to Weigh Options After Bartz’s Ouster

September 14, 2011

Sept. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Yahoo! Inc.’s board is scheduled to meet today to weigh its options after Carol Bartz was ousted last week following less than three years at the helm, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

Investment bank Allen & Co. will outline various scenarios for Sunnyvale, California-based Yahoo, said the person, who requested anonymity because the meeting is private. The board, led by Chairman Roy Bostock, will also decide whether to hire Allen & Co. to explore those options, and it will discuss the search for Bartz’s successor, the person said.

Yahoo, leaderless and beset by slumping shares and falling revenue, is vulnerable to a takeover from private-equity investors, said Di Zhou, an analyst at Thornburg Investment Management in Santa Fe, New Mexico. A buyer could sell shares in some of Yahoo’s Asian assets and use proceeds to take the rest of the company private, she said last week.

“A private-equity buyer could seek to unlock the value of the Asian assets and leverage up the core of Yahoo, which continues to generate cash flow despite competitive and operational challenges,” analysts at Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. wrote in a research report last week.

Kim Rubey, a spokeswoman for Yahoo, declined to comment.

Another possible outcome involves a tie-up with AOL Inc., where CEO Tim Armstrong is talking with advisers to gauge Yahoo’s interest in combining the companies, two people familiar with the matter said last week.

Fresh Interest?

Armstrong had been interested in a merger with Yahoo last year and was rebuffed while Bartz was at the helm, one person said. Her departure prompted him to reconsider the option, and, under one scenario now being considered, Yahoo would acquire AOL and Armstrong would become CEO of the combined company, the person said.

Yahoo is unlikely to be interested in a deal for New York- based AOL at this time, a person familiar with the company’s thinking said last week.

Yahoo’s directors also are under pressure from investors such as Third Point LLC, which urged the board to resign last week after buying a 5.2 percent stake. The investment firm said directors erred in spurning a takeover bid from Microsoft Corp. and hired a chief executive officer who wasn’t up to the job.

The “board of directors has made a number of decisions that have directly harmed the company and resulted in a stock price far below the company’s intrinsic value,” New York-based Third Point said in a filing.

Yahoo’s board meeting was previously reported by the AllThingsDigital technology blog.

--With assistance from Douglas MacMillan in San Francisco. Editors: Nick Turner, Tom Giles

To contact the reporters on this story: Tom Giles in San Francisco at tgiles5@bloomberg.net; Danielle Kucera in San Francisco at dkucera6@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net.


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