Icahn Ramps Up Pressure, Vows To Get Jerry Yang Fired (YHOO)

Now it’s official: Carl Icahn has said publicly that he wants to get Yahoo (YHOO) co-founder Jerry Yang fired as CEO for blowing off Microsoft’s $44.6 billion bid, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Like most of Icahn’s public statements, this one is carefully designed…to increase the pressure on Yahoo’s board and Jerry Yang. The last thing Icahn wants to do is actually go through a nail-biting proxy fight, especially with no plan as to how to run the company if he wins (sacking the CEO is only the first step. Who’s going to run Yahoo after Jerry goes? Frank Biondi?). So far better if Carl can scare Yahoo / Jerry into a deal BEFORE the shareholder meeting. Thus the usually artful Icahn rhetoric in the WSJ:

Mr. Icahn said he is convinced that executives of Microsoft, which withdrew its takeover offer last month for Yahoo, no longer trust Mr. Yang and won’t make a new bid — as Mr. Icahn and many investors are hoping for — unless Mr. Yang and the company’s board are ousted.

“I’m very cynical about many of the boards and CEO’s in this country, but even I am amazed at the lengths that the Jerry Yang and the board went to entrench themselves in this situation,” Mr. Icahn said.

Meanwhile, a Yahoo spokesperson denies that the company got a $40 offer from Microsoft in January 2007, a prominent detail in the lawsuit unsealed yesterday. This denial is surprising: The $40 detail did not surprise many people, and even those close to the company have talked about how Microsoft had offered $40 in the past.

Yahoo’s board is scheduled to meet today, a source tells the WSJ.

More to come…

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