Yahoo board support tumbles in recount

Tabulation firm discovered errors in calculations

Shareholders didn’t back Yahoo’s board as strongly as the Netco originally reported.

Yahoo revised the results of the vote on Tuesday after a tabulation firm discovered errors in the way it calculated the Aug. 1 returns. The recount revealed that support for chair Roy Bostock and chief exec Jerry Yang was far from overwhelming: Nearly 40% of the Netco’s shareholders voted against Bostock, double the amount originally tabulated, and one third voted against Yang, as opposed to 15%. Shareholders voting in favor of Ron Burkle also tumbled to 62% from 81%.

The recount didn’t alter the outcome of last week’s election, which retained Yahoo’s directors despite shareholder anger over the board’s handling of a now-withdrawn $47.5 billion takeover bid from Microsoft Corp. But it underscores how unhappy shareholders are with the company.

The miscounted votes might not have been detected if not for an inquiry lodged Monday by Capital Research Global Investors, which owns a 6.2% stake in Yahoo.

Convinced its opposition to Yahoo’s board wasn’t reflected in last week’s vote, Capital Research demanded an audit from Broadridge Financial Solutions, the processing firm. Broadridge acknowledged Tuesday that a printing mix-up caused it to understate the number of shares that intended to vote against Yahoo directors.

“This was a unique, isolated incident,” said Chuck Callan, Broadridge senior VP of regulatory affairs.

Yahoo’s board is about to be expanded to 11 people to include Carl Icahn and two of his allies. Icahn still hopes to revive talks with Microsoft.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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