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Yahoo-Microsoft deal back on?

Postponed Yahoo board meeting prompts speculation

Yahoo has postponed its annual board meeting until the end of July, causing analysts to speculate that the search firm is still attempting to work out a deal with Microsoft.

According to Karsten Weide, an analyst at IDC, the postponement of the board meeting, which was set for July 3, probably means Yahoo needs more time to work out a deal with Microsoft. He believes Microsoft will ultimately buy Yahoo, even though the software giant withdrew its offer and has said it is working on another type of transaction with the company.

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn has been scooping up Yahoo shares and has told the company he is nominating 10 candidates to replace the entire board, which is up for re-election during the meeting. He has said that in doing so he hopes to reignite talks with Microsoft, which recently pulled its acquisition bid for Yahoo.

In addition to the change in the annual meeting, Yahoo also announced the resignation of Edward Kozel from the board. In a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Yahoo said Kozel had planned to leave the board in February but decided to stay on following the acquisition proposal from Microsoft.

As a result of his resignation, Yahoo has reduced the size of its board to nine directors, it said.

While Kozel said he is resigning in order to spend more time with his family, he probably has another reason, Weide said. "It means there's dissent," he said. Kozel may not have agreed with the board's refusal to make a deal with Microsoft and he may be worried about lawsuits charging the board with failing to do its duty, Weide suggested.

Yahoo appointed Kozel to the board in 2000. He had spent 11 years at Cisco, including as chief technology officer, and also served on Cisco's board. Kozel also previously worked at Boeing and McDonnell Douglas and as managing partner at Open Range Ventures, a private venture-capital company.

Microsoft announced its $44.6bn (£22.3bn) cash-and-stock bid for Yahoo on Feb 1 but abandoned it three months later, after Yahoo initially spurned the offer. Microsoft was interested in a deal with Yahoo as a way to boost its lagging search business, although since it pulled its offer, the company has said that it can gain more market share through internal innovations.

See also:

Yahoo: Icahn misunderstood Microsoft offer


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