Yahoo buys more time for negotiations

— 11:21 AM on May 23, 2008

Time is of the essence for Yahoo. After the web firm prompted Microsoft to withdraw its buyout offer earlier this month, billionaire investor Carl Icahn bought 59 million Yahoo shares with the intent of ousting the company's board at the next stockholder meeting on July 3. Yahoo and Microsoft have since started new negotiations over alternate deals, but Icahn hasn't backed off.

The Associated Press now reports that Yahoo has postponed its annual stockholder meeting, warding off Icahn's potential attack until "an undetermined date in late July." This isn't the first time the meeting has been postponed: Yahoo pushed it back from the usual May-June time frame in March, a few weeks after it refused Microsoft's initial $44.7 billion offer and the threat of a hostile takeover was in the air.

If Yahoo doesn't secure a lucrative merger or partnership deal before the meeting, Icahn and others will likely vote to replace existing Yahoo directors. The AP says Icahn has already nominated "a slate of candidates to replace the current directors." Other Yahoo shareholders will join him, including two who plan to nominate themselves and a third who wants to submit "another opposing sale of directors." That said, Yahoo claims these other shareholders' moves don't meet the rules for nominating new candidates.

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