One of the next steps in the Microsoft-Yahoo melodrama (MSFT) (YHOO) is for Microsoft to nominate a slate of directors to replace the ones it will try to get fired at Yahoo’s shareholder meeting (Jerry, Roy Bostock, et al). The problem? The “word on the street” is that Microsoft can’t find anyone willing to take on the job, says the Post’s Peter Lauria.
We had assumed that Microsoft could solve the director problem by nominating Steve Ballmer, Bill Gates, Yusef Mehdi, Brian McAndrews, and a gaggle of Microsoft administrative assistants. Alas, Peter reports that this would be illegal (director nominees can’t work for a hostile acquirer).
Potential directors are reportedly–and understandably–concerned that the filing of a slate of dissident directors is just a negotiating move by Microsoft, one that isn’t worth destroying Yahoo and Valley relationships for:
One Silicon Valley source said there’s no incentive for people under consideration to become board nominees because a deal is widely seen as likely being done on friendly terms.
Also holding people back is the worry that if negotiations turn nasty, would-be nominees, by being part of a hostile takeover attempt, risk alienating both Yahoo! insiders and others who are aligned with the search giant.
Microsoft reportedly approached former Netscape CFO Peter Currie but he, not surprisingly, told them to go to hell. Cable mogul Leo Hindery and once-Viacom-honcho Tom Freston have also reportedly been considered, but both deny offers from Microsoft.
*UPDATE: A source who claims to know for certain says the Post is full of it, that Microsoft’s board slate is set and ready to file at a moment’s notice. And now TechCrunch says the same thing, and claims to have talked to a member of said board.
Heaven can wait.
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