Microsoft is insisting Yahoo! replaces its board of directors, a move Icahn has backed for months. Gordon Crawford of Capital Research Global Investors, which owns 6.5% of Yahoo! shares, also says that he supports an acquisition bid by Microsoft.
Analysts speculate that Icahn has the backing of shareholders which control 30% or more of Yahoo! Yahoo!, meanwhile, is accusing Ballmer and Icahn of conspiring to force the company to sell its search business, which not in the best interests of shareholders. “If Microsoft and Mr. Ballmer really want to purchase Yahoo, we again invite them to make a proposal immediately,” says Yahoo!
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is set to revive talks with Yahoo! to acquire its search technology or buy the whole company outright, after US billionaire investor Carl Icahn sent Ballmer a letter urging him to make an offer for Yahoo!
Icahn, who claims he has brokered the discussions this far, believes that he should officially mediate any deal Yahoo! and Microsoft may strike.
In May, Icahn purchased about 50m shares in Yahoo!, 3.5 % of total shares, following Microsoft’s failed acquisition bid for the company. Capital World Investors holds about 135m shares, almost 10% of all outstanding shares. Legg Mason owns roughly 6.5%, while co-founder and CEO Jerry Yang holds 5.79%, and fellow co-founder David Filo owns 3.92%. A showdown is expected on or before August 1 when Yahoo! holds its annual meeting.