Activist investors have put a lot of pressure on Yahoo lately to replace its management and sell its core business.
But instead of reaching a settlement and shaking up its current management, Yahoo seems intent on facing a full-on proxy battle that cound turn things really ugly.
The latest signal came from Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s interview with PBS’s Charlie Rose on Thursday evening.
“I would love to be running Yahoo! We have a three-year strategic plan,” Mayer said when asked if she thinks she’ll be running Yahoo a year from now.
Mayer reitereated her three-year turnaround plan that includes the expansion of Yahoo’s mobile and video businesses, and that the current team in place is best-suited for the job.
“We have a terrific team at Yahoo! and I really hope that they’re allowed to continue on to do the — to do the good work,” Mayer added.
Activist investor Starboard Value has publicly demanded a management overhaul at Yahoo, which includes Mayer’s departure. It threatened with a potential proxy fight, if its demands are not accepted.
Mayer, in the meantime, has been reported to be causing a rift within Yahoo’s board for pitching a deal on her own that possibly involves a plan that would let her keep her job.
On top of that, Yahoo just hired two new board members Thursday morning, reportedly just moments before its first meeting with Starboard. The new directors were added without consulting with Starboard at all, according to multiple reports, which reflects Yahoo’s intention to engage in a proxy fight and not succumb to Starboard’s demands.
Wall Street was not impressed by the new hires, either. SunTrust analyst Robert Peck wrote in a note Thursday that he’s a “little perplexed” by the move and that it creates a lot of questions.
“We take this news as negative, as it likely means the company is gearing up for a proxy contest,” he wrote.