Controversial billionaire investor Carl Icahn has stepped down from Yahoo’s board of directors, effective immediately, saying the company no longer needs an activist investor on its board, and expressing confidence in recently-installed Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz and lauding the company’s new long-term Internet search pact with Microsoft.
Icahn won a seat on Yahoo’s board a little over a year ago as the company was struggling to manage the ramifications of Microsoft’s earlier hostile takeover offer. Yahoo rebuffed Microsoft’s advances, leading to a sharp decline in Yahoo’s stock private: Icahn very publicly began organizing a shareholder rebellion, essentially working to elect his own members to the company’s board and through Yahoo at Microsoft’s feet for whatever price Microsoft was willing to pay. Ultimately, Icahn won a seat on Yahoo’s board himself, and shortly thereafter Yahoo founder Jerry Yang stepped down as CEO, with Bartz coming on board as his replacement.
In his letter of resignation, Icahn said he believes Yahoo’s search deal with Microsoft would have significant long-term benefits to the company.
In late August, Icahn unloaded almost 13 million shares of his Yahoo holdings in late August; at the time of Microsoft’ takeover dance with Yahoo, Icahn owned over 60 million shares of the company, which translated to roughly a 4.5 percent stake in the company.
Yahoo has said that it has no immediate plans to replace Icahn on its board of directors, and will continue with 11 board members for the time being.