|Third Point chief Daniel Loeb said former Yahoo leader Carol Bartz alienated the company’s Asian partners.|
Activist investor buys Yahoo stake
LOS ANGELES - An activist investment fund disclosed yesterday that it has bought a 5.2 percent stake in troubled Web portal Yahoo Inc. and called for sweeping changes to the board.
A public letter from Daniel Loeb, chief executive of investment adviser Third Point, comes after Yahoo’s board fired chief executive Carol Bartz on Tuesday after 2 1/2 years on the job, a move she bitterly criticized in an interview published yesterday.
Loeb said the board made a “serious misjudgment’’ in hiring Bartz, and he criticized it for taking so long to fire her given her “abysmal performance.’’ He slammed Bartz personally for alienating the company’s Asian partners - Alibaba Group, Softbank, and Yahoo Japan - as well as Yahoo’s shareholders, analysts, bloggers, customers, and employees.
Loeb also said it is now apparent that the board made a “gross error’’ in turning down Microsoft Corp.’s takeover bid in 2008 for $31 a share.
Microsoft raised its bid to $33 per share, or $47.5 billion, before withdrawing the offer in May 2008.
Loeb believes Yahoo’s intrinsic value is now around $20 per share. “This mistake is all the more frustrating given Yahoo’s current depressed stock price,’’ he said.
Yahoo’s stock jumped 83 cents to $14.44. Since Bartz’s firing, shares are up 8 percent.
In an interview with Fortune magazine, Bartz used profanity to describe her firing by Yahoo’s board.
She said Bostock read from a lawyer’s prepared statement when he spoke to her by phone to dismiss her on Tuesday.