The drama surrounding Yahoo!'s annual shareholder meeting, at which the company's board of directors was at one time expected to be ousted, passed Friday without any major incident. There were questions about the aborted purchase by Microsoft, of course, but shareholders overwhelmingly supported the current board, including an 85.4 percent favorable vote for co-founder and CEO Jerry Yang.
The fact that billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn wasn't there certainly helped matters. Icahn had been spearheading an acrimonious attempt to oust Yahoo!'s board, but the company settled with him and handed him and two cronies three seats on the board. Icahn agreed to not attend the shareholder meeting as a result.
Even without Icahn there, the Yahoo! board got a number of questions about Microsoft at the event. However, various board members downplayed the seriousness of Microsoft's various offers. "There was never a compelling offer put on the table," said Yahoo! Chairman Roy Bostock.
Some shareholders were not mollified by this defense, which Microsoft has characterized as history rewriting. "You overplayed your hand ... and overstayed your welcome," Yahoo! shareholder Eric Jackson told Bostock. Jackson owns 3.2 million Yahoo! shares.
Left unanswered was who would join Icahn on the Yahoo! board. Leading candidate Jonathan Miller, a former CEO of AOL, will not be one of them: He said Friday that his noncompete agreement with Time Warner prevents him from doing so.