Yahoo Angers Shareholders, Attempts to Pacify

That $31 per Yahoo share offer from Microsoft doesn’t look so bad to the folks managing The Wayne County Employee’s Retirement System of Michigan’s investments. Now they’re
suing Yahoo in the hopes of getting Yahoo to reconsider the takeover bid. Of course, it could only be a matter of time before Yahoo agrees to a higher Microsoft offer, which would probably please the county system, which apparently owns 13,600 shares of Yahoo.

Then again, Yahoo might sell off a stake to News Corp, or do a search ad deal with Google, or any number of things to fend against an impending Microsoft grab.

In an effort to pacify frustrated shareholders, Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang sent a letter to them, rattling off what’s become the standard laundry list of reasons why Yahoo still matters, and what the company plans to do to make sure it regains market share. But talk is cheap. Yang repeating the same “starting point, must-buy, open-platform” mantra seems empty without real improvement backing it up. To observers and shareholders, Yahoo could start to look like the lazy brother-in-law who keeps saying he’s going to get a job, but somehow is always there on the couch watching ESPN when you get home from yours.

OK, maybe not that bad. The reality is the layoffs are all about (one assumes) belt-tightening, removing redundancy, creating efficiencies and just plain reducing overhead, which could be a good step if the still necessary people don’t bail in the process.

But if anything, the people behind the Wayne County suit just might have given a few other governments and shareholders an idea.

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