Billionaire investor voices support for Yahoo!

July 20th, 2008 - 1:00 am ICT by IANS  

Los Angeles, July 19 (Xinhua) Billionaire Bill Miller, Yahoo!’s fourth-largest shareholder, has voiced his support for the Internet giant in its battle with dissident investor Carl Icahn, the San Jose Mercury News reported Saturday. Miller, chairman and chief investment officer of Legg Mason Capital Management, said he would support Yahoo!’s board of directors though he would still back a deal with Microsoft at a decent price, the paper said.

Icahn, who controls about 5 percent of Yahoo!’s shares, is seeking to replace the company’s nine-member board and negotiate the sale of the company to Microsoft.

Miller’s declaration is significant because he is the first major shareholder to step forward and choose a side, said the paper.

In the past, Miller has publicly second-guessed Yahoo!’s rejection of the Microsoft bid and said shareholders would have settled for a price only one dollar more than Microsoft’s final offer of $33 a share.

Microsoft withdrew its offer May 3 after Yahoo! countered with a request for $37 a share.

In a written statement, Miller said he had spoken with members of Yahoo!’s board as well as senior managers several times and concluded “the current board acted with care and diligence when evaluating Microsoft’s offers”.

Miller called on Icahn and the board to “end this disruptive proxy contest” and said that if Microsoft still wants to acquire Yahoo! “it can make the terms and conditions of its offer public”.

“If Yahoo! shareholders support it, I am confident the board will accept it,” Miller said in a statement quoted by the paper.

Yahoo! continued its war of words with Icahn Friday with the creation of a new web site skewering his track record as an activist investor.

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