Let us preface this post by declaring that the new website Cityfile is incredible. We’ve spent the last two days on this site reading all the profiles of the “notable and influential” New Yorkers.
Our boys at Cityfile* have just posted pictures and details of Carl Icahn’s yacht , the 180-foot Starfire, which can be yours for a week for the low price of $196,000 (during “low season”).
From the pictures, it looks like Carl can throw his share of Minnesota Vikings style parties all while blogging thanks to his high-speed WiFi. He’s got a nice big screen TV, a chess board for the intellectual inclined, and of course, an on-board chef to round out the 12 person crew.
Anybody reading got the moolah to take a ride on his yacht?
* Full disclosure: We know these guys and think they are awesome.
–Senior Ichanist Travis
Biogen Idec Inc. shareholders voted down Carl Icahn’s proposed candidates for the board, according to initial counts by the company. Icahn, who felt that Biogen’s attempt to sell itself last December was “flawed,” wanted the biotechnology company to cut costs and improve research and employee morale.
Icahn found little support for his board, as major proxy adviser firms indicated that he had “failed to prove the sale process was mismanaged.”
On a side (yet equally important) note, icahnreport.com seems to have “launched,” though at present, the site is password protected. We look forward to hearing Icahn’s thoughts on today’s news.
–by Guest Carl Icahn lecturer Travis
Carl Icahn said Tuesday that Microsoft Corp needs Yahoo to be competitive with Google over the next five years.
“They can’t compete” if the company doesn’t acquire Yahoo, he said at the annual New York Financial Writers Association Awards Dinner at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square.
Icahn cited Google’s incursions into core Microsoft businesses such as word processing and spreadsheet applications. Microsoft’s Word and Excel have dominated this area for years. Google recently launched its own versions of these products, giving them away free on its website.
“Microsoft needs this company,” Icahn said. “They have to be on the internet if they’re going to compete with Google. These applications are all going online.”
Icahn owns 10 million shares of Yahoo, and has put up his own slate of directors to replace Yahoo’s board. He wants the company to rethink it’s resistance to being acquired by Microsoft, which withdrew a bid for the company earlier this year saying Yahoo was not cooperating.
Carl Icahn said today that he will seek to oust Jerry Yang as Yahoo’s CEO if he wins his proxy fight bid to control the company’s board. Was this every in doubt?
What seems to have really annoyed Icahn is information released when a Delaware judge unsealed a shareholder suit against Yahoo. The unsealed pleadings revealed that even as Yahoo was claiming to consider the Microsoft bid, it adopted an expensive an employee-severance plan that Icahn is characterizing as an underhanded poison pill meant to scuttle the deal.
“It’s no longer a mystery to me why Microsoft’s offer isn’t around,” Icahn says in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. “How can Yahoo keep saying they’re willing to negotiate and sell the company on the one hand, while at the same time they’re completely sabotaging the process without telling anyone?”
In other news, the Yahoo board is scheduled to meet today.
Icahn Steps Up Yahoo Attack, Seeks Yang’s Ouster as CEO [Wall Street Journal]
Carl Icahn got the go ahead from the Federal Trade Commission to scoop up huge amounts of Yahoo stock. Icahn owns around 10 million Yahoo shares now, and has options to acquire another 49 million. He said he’s seeking clearance from the FTC to buy up to $2.5 billion of the stock.
In our not-so-free market, you need the FTC’s approval to make stock purchases worth $63 million or more.
In other news, we just noticed that Jerry Yang and Steve Ballmer apparently played golf together last weekend. They may or may not have chatted about a deal but probably not the straight-up acquisition that Icahn wants. Icahn, of course, hates executives who play golf. Is there any chance that Ballmer and Yang arranged the meeting over golf to piss off Icahn?
Icahn gets antitrust go-ahead for Yahoo stock buy [Yahoo--heh]
So Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer says the company is not looking to buy Yahoo. They’re talking about other stuff that might “create value” or some such. It’s pretty much what we learned on Sunday, when Microsoft and Yahoo disclosed that they were in negotiations.
Is a buyout really off the table? The market doesn’t seem to think so. Shares are down a bit today but not by what you’d expect them to drop if the buyout was really done. Perhaps Ballmer is just sticking to the script, playing hardball to get a better price for Yahoo.
Still, this can’t make Carl Icahn and the rest of his hedge fund cohort happy. (Then again, he’s still up about $120 million, which would keep us happy.)
Microsoft Not Bidding to Buy Yahoo: CEO Ballmer [Reuters via ABC News]