You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Yahoo Board Battle Is On: Activist Investor Starboard Nominates 9 Directors

Yahoo, currently looking for a potential buyer while also paring back parts of its business, now officially faces a fight for control of its board of directors.

Starboard Value, which owns about 1.7% of Yahoo’s outstanding shares and has been vocal about its displeasure with CEO Marissa Mayer’s performance, announced Thursday that it is nominating nine candidates for election to Yahoo’s board — seeking to unseat Mayer and the other current directors.

The New York hedge fund’s nominees include its own CEO, Jeffrey Smith; Bridget Baker, formerly NBCUniversal’s president of TV networks distribution; and Eddy Hartenstein, former CEO of DirecTV, Tribune Co. and Los Angeles Times Media Group. The directors will be nominated for election at Yahoo’s annual shareholders meeting in late June. Starboard had previously announced intentions to put up a slate of board candidates.

Earlier this month, Yahoo appointed two directors to its board, to bring it to nine members: Catherine Friedman, former managing director of Morgan Stanley, and Eric Brandt, former CFO of Broadcom.

In an open letter to Yahoo shareholders, released Thursday, Smith reiterated his firm’s belief that the Internet company is “deeply undervalued.”

“We believe the board clearly lacks the leadership, objectivity and perspective needed to make decisions that are in the best interests of shareholders,” he wrote. Starboard’s board candidates are “prepared to serve the shareholders of Yahoo and ensure that the interests of all shareholders are of paramount importance.”

According to Starboard, it evaluated more than 100 potential board candidates before selecting the nine-member slate. The full letter is available on Starboard’s website.

Yahoo said in a statement, “The board’s nominating and governance committee will review Starboard’s proposed director nominees and respond in due course.”

“It is unfortunate that this action is necessary,” Smith wrote in the letter. In the last 18 months, “We have repeatedly requested an opportunity to work with the company, including offers to join the board and work constructively with the current directors. At every step of the way, management and the board have pushed us away.”

The Starboard nominees are:

  • Bridget Baker, longtime NBCU exec who was its first president of TV networks distribution, who currently serves as a director of General Communication, Alaska’s largest telecommunications company;
  • Tor Braham, former Deutsche Bank Securities managing director and global head of technology mergers and acquisitions, who currently serves on the boards of NetApp, Viavi Solutions and Sigma Designs;
  • Brad Buss, former CFO of SolarCity and Cypress Semiconductor, who currently serves as a director of Tesla Motors, CaféPress.com and Advance Auto Parts;
  • W. Lance Conn, former president of Paul Allen’s Vulcan Capital and senior AOL exec, who is a director of Charter Communications;
  • Dale Fuller, former CEO of moka5 and Borland Software, currently on the boards of AVG Technologies, Quantum and tech startup MobiSocial;
  • Eddy Hartenstein, former CEO of Tribune Co., chairman and CEO of DirecTV and publisher and CEO of the Los Angeles Times Media Group, who currently serves as a director of SanDisk, Sirius XM Holdings, Broadcom and Rovi;
  • Richard (Rick) Hill, former chairman of Tessera Technologies and CEO of Novellus Systems, who currently serves as a director of Arrow Electronics, Cabot Microelectronics Corporation and Autodesk;
  • Debra Janssen, currently COO of regional bank Bankers Trust; and
  • Jeffrey Smith, managing member, CEO and chief investment officer of Starboard Value, who is a director and chairman of Darden Restaurants and serves on the board of Advance Auto Parts.

Yahoo’s current board comprises chairman Maynard Webb Jr., founder of Webb Investment Network;
Marissa Mayer; Catherine Friedman; Eric Brandt; Yahoo co-founder David Filo; Sue James, former partner at Ernst & Young; Thomas McInerney, former CFO of IAC/InterActiveCorp; H. Lee Scott Jr., former CEO of Wal-Mart Stores; and Jane Shaw, former chairman of Intel.

The company named Friedman and Brandt to the board following the resignations of Charles Schwab, chairman of the Charles Schwab Corp., and PayPal co-founder Max Levchin.

More Digital

  • The Irishman

    'The Irishman' Nabs 17.1 Million U.S. Viewers on Netflix in First Five Days, per Nielsen

    Martin Scorsese’s mafia saga “The Irishman” was watched by 17.1 million unique Netflix viewers in the U.S. in the first five days of its streaming release, according to Nielsen estimates. By comparison, Sandra Bullock-starrer “Bird Box” scored nearly 26 million U.S. viewers in its first seven days of availability (Dec. 21-27, 2018) on Netflix, according [...]

  • Amazon, HBO Max, Netflix Dish on

    Amazon, HBO Max, Netflix Dish on Their International Plans

    It’s different strokes for different streaming folks as Amazon, HBO Max and Netflix lifted the lid on their international plans in London this week. Amazon said it’s not in the volume game and talked up a select number of hyper-local shows, while Netflix dished on plans to rev up non-English-language originals. The message from HBO [...]


    Daniel Rezende on Netflix Brazilian Series ‘Nobody’s Looking’

    Having premiered on Netflix Nov. 22, “Nobody’s Looking” marks the first collaboration between Gullane and Netflix – their second, “Boca a Boca” is in development- and comes from a long list of new projects that the streaming giant has announced with it’s $87 Million investment in Brazilian content. The series embodies the streaming platform’s push [...]

  • Sunil Doshi

    ATF: Sunil Doshi Launches Content Development Platform All Things Small (EXCLUSIVE)

    Sunil Doshi, whose company Alliance Media & Entertainment produced 2017 Tokyo film festival title “Bioscopewala” and distributed Jafar Panahi’s 2018 film “3 Faces” in India, has launched a new content development platform at the ongoing Asian TV Forum & Market in Singapore. The Mumbai-based All Things Small (ATS) is founded by Doshi, journalists Sidin Vadukut, [...]

  • YouTube-Rewind-2019

    YouTube Rewind 2019 Scraps Old Format After Last Year's Torrent of Dislikes

    YouTube has taken a brand-new approach with this year’s YouTube Rewind mashup video — dropping its tradition of highly produced original videos segments. Instead, the 2019 version is a montage of what the platform says were the biggest moments and milestones from around the world on YouTube. The move came after the 2018 YouTube Rewind [...]

  • PewDiePie

    PewDiePie Is the Most-Watched YouTube Creator of 2019 With 4 Billion Views

    PewDiePie’s Bro Army remains stronger than ever: The top YouTuber is the most-viewed creator of 2019 on the platform year-to-date, with more than 4 billion views this year, according to YouTube. The comedian, game vlogger and meme aficionado, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, is also the most-subscribed individual YouTube creator, currently with 102 million [...]

  • Variety Summit Examines Streaming Options and

    Variety Summit Examines Streaming Options and Innovation

    Analytics, monetization and the expanding landscape of entertainment will be the focus of Variety’s Innovate Summit: Discovery & Data Science in Media on Dec. 5 in West Hollywood. The event is presented by PwC. The summit will feature 32 speakers, each considered industry leaders in the emerging world of streaming. Each panel will speak to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content