April 16, 2012

Loeb Tries to Win a Yahoo Proxy Battle, One Blog Post at a Time

The use of blogs and social media in contested battles continues as noted in this DealBook piece:

Daniel S. Loeb is bringing a blog to a Web fight. In his effort to overhaul the board of Yahoo, the head of Third Point has started, his own site, which features information on his coming proxy fight. The site, which went live at 10:30 Monday morning, includes an outline of his agenda, a mission statement and profiles on his slate of proposed directors. Shareholders and other interested readers can also subscribe to the site to get updates on breaking stories or new content.

And yes — in true new Web fashion — you can also “like” Mr. Loeb’s battle for Yahoo’s board by becoming a fan of the site’s Facebook page.

Although investors have used the Web to disseminate information on past proxy contests, Mr. Loeb’s full site is a novel approach. It serves two purposes. For one, it is a central hub of information for Yahoo shareholders considering Mr. Loeb’s proposal. And second, the medium is intended to show investors that Mr. Loeb gets the Web, according to one person close to Third Point, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the looming proxy contest. Third Point plans to update the site daily, with frequent contributions from Mr. Loeb himself.

The activist hedge fund investor is locked in a battle with Yahoo’s board, which is trying to stymie his attempts to add four new directors, including himself. Mr. Loeb, who owns a 5.8 percent stake in Yahoo, filed a preliminary proxy filing last month. Although Yahoo has made some overtures, including an offer to add one of Mr. Loeb’s candidates, Harry Wilson, to the board, Mr. Loeb has criticized the board for not taking his demands seriously and failing on several corporate governance issues.