Yahoo Keeps its Enemies Closer

Jerry Yang, Yahoo’s CEO, may be learning something about the hard-driving style of management it takes to go it alone after an attempted takeover, especially if he follows Om’s logic and thinks Yahoo is about more than search. This morning, Yahoo said it will allow corporate raider Carl Icahn three seats on a newly expanded Yahoo board in an effort to settle the disagreement that is taking up so much of the web portal’s attention this summer. This ends the proxy battle, and Yang has brought Icahn in-house despite — or perhaps because of — the trouble he’s caused.

The deal gives Icahn and two other board members of his choosing spots on an 11-member board. Shareholders will choose from Icahn’s previously named slate of potential directors and newly named Jonathan Miller, currently a partner in Velocity Interactive Group and former chairman and CEO of AOL. This will settle the proxy battle Icahn began after Microsoft’s failed bids for Yahoo earlier this year, and make the Aug. 1 shareholder meeting a less contentious one.

However, it’s unclear what this peace offering means for Microsoft, which has expressed interest in doing a deal with Icahn should he gain control of Yahoo. Icahn’s board presence isn’t likely enough to sway Microsoft to put up the cash required to do a deal that Yahoo might sabotage while waiting for the closing. We’ll update the story as Microsoft comes out with its stance.

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