Activist investor Eric Jackson of SpringOwl Asset Management has joined the call for a board shake up at Yahoo, telling Business Insider that “the current board as a whole has failed its fiduciary responsibilities.”
“All Yahoo shareholders want to see new representation on the board. That’s most important,” he said via email.
“There are many possible candidates who have operating experience in a consumer Internet company, deep tax experience, and who know Yahoo well and are shareholder friendly.”
On Wednesday morning activist hedge fund Starboard Value sent a letter to Yahoo calling for an election contest unless the company’s board accepts “significant changes.”
‘Open mind and fresh perspective’
“If the Board is unwilling to accept the need for significant change, then an election contest may very well be needed so that shareholders can replace a majority of the Board with directors who will represent their best interests and approach the situation with an open mind and a fresh perspective,” Starboard’s Jeff Smith wrote in the letter.
The letter included familiar grievances with Yahoo’s declining stock price — down 26% over the last year — and its stagnant business strategy.
It also accused Yahoo’s board of failing to consider purchase offers for its core business, which Starboard has advised the company to sell.
Few on Wall Street have been more critical of Yahoo than Jackson and SpringOwl. Last month they released a 99-slide presentation, calling for a complete restructuring of the company and lambasting Marissa Mayer for throwing lavish parties while mismanaging the company.
A different vision
SpringOwl’s plan for Yahoo’s future is different from Starboard’s though. It is in favour of keeping the core business, sacking Mayer, and dramatically downsizing the company.
That doesn’t mean they don’t support Starboard’s call to action, however.
“We are pleased as shareholders. This management team and board have been tone deaf to the voices of shareholders for some time. Changes need to be made immediately,” Jackson said.
“We all want to see a higher stock price and a fair value placed on the Core Business. That won’t happen until these changes occur.”