Internet giant Yahoo Inc. will hold what is likely to be its last shareholders meeting Thursday at 2:00 p.m. PDT (5:00 p.m. EDT). Many of the struggling company’s shareholders — especially the bigger, institutional ones — are eager for the company to sell its assets, for which there are numerous bidders.
Shareholders are also expected to approve a revamped management board, including four new members recommended by activist investor Starboard Value. Its CEO Jeffrey Smith was named to Yahoo’s board of directors in April. The three other nominees are Tor R. Braham, the longtime head of technology mergers and acquisitions at Warburg Dillon Read, a subsidiary of UBS; Richard S. Hill, a veteran technology and defense executive who most recently served as the CEO of Tessera Technologies Inc.; and Eddy W. Hartenstein, a former CEO of the Tribune Co. and DirecTV.
Smith has been the most vocal proponent for Yahoo to sell its core business, an issue that is certain to be raised at the Thursday meeting. Several companies, including Verizon, AT&T, Daily Mail, private equity firms and even Warren Buffett, are said to be interested in the assets.
After market closing Wednesday, Yahoo had a market cap of over $35 billion, but most of the company’s valuable assets are in Asia, where Yahoo Japan operates as a separate entity and the company owns a big stake in China’s internet behemoth Alibaba Group. Investors like Starboard Value argue that Yahoo’s core business is holding back growth in its profitable assets.
Its core internet business, which includes Yahoo-branded websites and apps, as well as blogging service Tumblr and photo-sharing website Flickr, is said to be valued between $4 billion and $6 billion, and Verizon is seen as the front-runner for buying it.
Christopher Marangi, a co-chief investment officer at GAMCO Investors Inc., which owns roughly 2 million Yahoo shares, told SFGate: “There is tremendous amount of shareholder pressure to consummate the sale. At the price being discussed, a sale seems the most likely option.”
Marissa Mayer was brought in from Google as CEO in 2012, but she hasn’t been able to check the slide in the company’s fortunes, despite hiring engineers and acquiring businesses worth more than $2 billion.
Shares of Yahoo closed 2.28 percent higher on Nasdaq on Wednesday, while the broader Nasdaq Composite index closed up by 1.86 percent.