The Microhoo saga finally finds two parties making peace, but neither of them is Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) .
Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO ) has made nice with Carl Icahn heading into next week's annual shareholder battle, putting to rest a nasty proxy bottle for boardroom control. Under the terms of the settlement, Yahoo! will only retain eight of its current board members. Icahn -- along with two of his cronies from his proposed slate of replacements -- will join the board.
Icahn must have seen the writing on the wall. Even with Yahoo! literally spelling out that it will sell itself for "$33 a share or more" -- less than even the $34.375 price tag that Icahn demanded last month -- Microsoft wasn't going for the bait.
The value of Yahoo! has apparently diminished in Microsoft's eyes since its initial buyout overtures nearly six months ago. Now Mr. Softy just wants to lasso Yahoo!'s search business.
If that isn't enough to derail Icahn's simple plan of taking over Yahoo!'s boardroom to hand it over to Microsoft at a premium, last week found Yahoo! investor Legg Mason (NYSE: LM ) siding with Yahoo!'s current members.
The major bummer here is that the Yahoo! board member stepping down during the makeover will be Activision (Nasdaq: ATVI ) CEO Robert Kotick. Ouch! Yahoo!'s board is loaded with a motley crew of airline execs and Yahoo! insiders. Kotick was one of the rare members actually succeeding in today's business climate outside of the boardroom.
Ultimately, today's moves dampen next week's fireworks show. Shareholders won't have an alternate slate of directors to vote in as a show of their displeasure. Yahoo! CEO Jerry Yang has bought himself a little more time, hopefully long enough to ramp up Yahoo!'s paid outsourcing deal through Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) and improve his company's finances. There's no longer a pressing need for Yahoo! to make things up in volume by hooking up with either News Corp. (NYSE: NWS ) MySpace or Time Warner's (NYSE: TWX ) AOL. Urgency, begone!
Yahoo! is boring again, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.