Yahoo, Icahn trade verbal punches

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn and Yahoo's board of directors are engaged in a heated debate, with billions of dollars and the future of at least one company at stake. In the wake of Carl Icahn's scathing letter to the Yahoo board last week, Yahoo Chairman Roy Bostock sent out a reply saying Icahn misunderstood the situation and lacked a plan for the company.

Icahn replied by lining out his five-step plan, which would involve scrapping a controversial retention scheme, hiring a "talented and experienced CEO," and starting aggressive merger negotiations with Microsoft. If a deal with Microsoft failed, Icahn said he would ask the new board to negotiate a search deal with Google. Yahoo quickly released a response to Icahn's latest missive, stating:

Leaving aside Mr. Icahn's inaccurate interpretation of our retention plan, we again note that he has no credible plan to operate Yahoo!. We believe that Mr. Icahn's suggestion that we cancel our retention plan would have a destabilizing impact on Yahoo! and would clearly not be in the best interests of our shareholders. Furthermore, his suggestion that we put out a price publicly to see if Microsoft will alter its stated position is ill-advised. As we have stated numerous times publicly and privately, we are open to any transaction including a sale to Microsoft if it is in the best interests of shareholders.

Icahn, who called Yahoo's retention plan a "doomsday machine" that would incite most company staffers to leave in the event of a buyout, sent a new public letter today to Bostock. As reports, the letter says Yahoo "keeps repeating misstatements in the hope it will convince its shareholders that these misstatements are valid." Icahn also claims Yahoo's compensation adviser himself called the retention plan "nuts," and a New York paper learned from sources close to Microsoft that knowledge of the scheme swayed Microsoft's bid.

Icahn takes issue with the repeated allegation that he lacks a game plan, as well. "Did you even bother to read my letter, which went into great detail on what measures I would ask the new board to take," he opens, before going on to mock the apparent failures of Yahoo's own plans, which have done little to help the company thrive against Google.

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