Yahoo Inc. (YHOO) again stepped up pressure on its shareholders to back the company's slate of board nominees, saying in a new letter they are "significantly superior" to those proposed by its largest outside shareholder, Third Point LLC.
The parties have been arguing for months over the qualifications of their candidates ahead of the vote set for later this year.
Third Point, run by hedge fund manager Dan Loeb, has a 5.8% ownership stake in Yahoo, according to FactSet Research.
After Yahoo Chairman Roy Bostock and three other directors in February said they wouldn't stand for re-election to the board, Third Point said it would nominate a slate of four candidates that included Chief Executive and Founder Daniel Loeb. But Yahoo rejected Loeb as a nominee to its board, and said he had rejected the company's proposed compromise of naming one of his nominees and finding a new mutually agreeable second candidate. Yahoo named three new independent board members instead.
In its letter to shareholders, released on Wednesday, Yahoo's board said it "continues to believe that Mr. Loeb himself does not bring the relevant skill set and experience to the board, particularly in comparison to the candidates selected by the board." Loeb has sharply criticized those allegations.
But the online media giant's said it remains committed to an open dialogue with all shareholders and to working in a constructive manner with Third Point.
Yahoo reported last month its first-quarter earnings rose a better-than-expected 28% as advertising revenue crept up, driven by improvement in its search business. Chief Executive Scott Thompson, who left eBay Inc. (EBAY) unit PayPal to join Yahoo in January, recently outlined the company's growth strategy, saying he will split Yahoo into three main groups focused on consumer-focused websites, regional ad relationships and technology assets that include data centers and Yahoo's ad platforms.
-By Melodie Warner, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2283; email@example.com