Shares of Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO), the No. 3 search engine, rose slightly Monday after dissident investor Third Point Capital demanded access to confidential data.
Near the close, Yahoo shares were up 23 cents at $15.38, bringing the value of the Sunnyvale, Calif., media company to $18.6 billion. Before the market opened, shares had traded as high as $15.36.
Just after declaring a deadline of noon EDT to fire new CEO Scott Thompson on grounds he'd embellished his academic credentials, Third Point sent a letter to Yahoo demanding access to all documents related to his hiring in January.
Citing Delaware corporate law, Third Point principal Daniel Loeb said the consequences should be severe and demanded a response within five days.
Late Friday, after a Third Point filing, Yahoo advised the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that Thompson, 54, lacks a degree in computer sciences but that director Patti Hart, 56, has a bachelor of science degree in business administration.
In earlier filings, Third Point had raised the issues, alleging resume enhancement wasn't acceptable and that Thompson, in office only four months, should be removed. It charged Thompson's credentials in its official proxy stated he had degrees in accounting as well as computer sciences from Stonehill College, while Hart's said she had a degree in marketing and economics from Illinois State University.
Third Point, Loeb's New York hedge fund, owns 5.8 percent of Yahoo shares and has proposed a slate of directors to oppose management at the annual meeting, whose date hasn't been determined.
Loeb asked for similar data regarding interviews and selection of Yahoo directors elected since Thompson joined the company.
Third Point had given Yahoo until noon Monday EDT to respond.
Separately, unconfirmed reports said Yahoo had finally devised a deal to divest some of its overseas assets for a big profit. A Reuters report said it had agreed to sell as much as 25 percent in China's Alibaba Group payment service.
Last year, Alibaba CEO Jack Ma said he would be interesed in acquiring all of the search engine company immediately after CEO Carol Bartz was fired. Subsequent negotiations by Yahoo's advisers, Goldman Sachs and Allen & Co., fell apart.
Under Bartz, Yahoo took a 40 percent stake in Alibaba Group, which was valued last year as much as $8 billion.
Yahoo also owns about 20 percent of Yahoo Japan, a legacy of its original financial backing by Japan's SoftBank.
Yahoo has not announced any action regarding Alibaba nor reported it to the SEC.