Is Third Point’s Dan Loeb Planning Proxy Fight Against Yahoo $YHOO?

THIRD POINTDaniel S. Loeb, the hedge fund manager of Third Point and one of Yahoo’s largest shareholders, will be in Silicon Valley this week to interview board candidates in preparation for a possible proxy fight, according to people familiar with his plans,” reports the New York Times. “The investor, who has been outspoken in his contempt for Yahoo’s board, has until March 25 to file a competing slate of directors.”

Loeb, whose Third Point owns a greater than 5% stake in Yahoo (YHOO), has been on the company’s case for months. In December, he actively spoke out against YHOO’s sale of part of the company to private equity buyers, arguing that such a transaction dilutes the power of existing shareholders (read the letter here). “Loeb has not decided whether he will officially instigate a proxy battle, according to people familiar with his plans who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the matter was private,” writes the New York Times. “But the activist investor has recently ramped up talks with Silicon Valley executives, including former Yahoo employees who understand the internal workings of the organization, these people added.”

Dan Loeb’s Third Point had initiated a $632.16 million position in YHOO during the third quarter, a holding worth almost 30% of its total portfolio. As early as September 8, Loeb was indicating his dissatisfaction (read the letter Loeb wrote to YHOO’s board here). And, it seems Loeb is not alone in dissatisfaction with YHOO’s board. One shareholder quipped, “Putting pressure on the board is a positive.” He said, “At the end of the day, the Yahoo board has messed up before and we want more independent people on the board.”

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